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Playing across the social zone - Animal Crossing, gaming communities and connectedness in a time of crisis

Enrico Gandolfi and Sofia Gandolfi

Academicus International Scientific Journal, 2021, issue 23, 41-51

Abstract: This proposal focuses on the multifaceted interplay between video games, connectiveness, and online communities in a time of emergency; COVID-19 has presented challenges for teenagers, forcing them to re-mediate their interactions with peers. Digital entertainment has been frequently accused to be a bearer of negative attitudes and anti-social behaviors, but there is also relevant evidence about how video games can foster bonding and inclusion. Nevertheless, updated lenses are needed for understanding the impact of the pandemic on playing and vice versa; in other words, video games can become a lens through which we can understand how teenagers and young adults experience and see the world around them, especially during these turbulent times. Moreover, video games are increasingly experienced in multiple ways, from watching live shows on to discussing games on Reddit; as such, this additional layer must be investigated too for situating the impact of gaming practices on social and individual schemes. This article intends to provide a snapshot of how this medium can be used as a catalyst for social research, looking at its consumption but also at the social halo it conveys. More specifically, an ethnographic approach has been chosen for providing an intensive analysis of how the acclaimed video game Animal Crossing was perceived and used as a socializing tool by a teenager.

Keywords: Animal Crossing; covid-19; ethnography; media platforms; teenager; video games (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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