Course notes:

Few studies showing how players select, maintain and change how they represent themselves in games and whether or not this behaviour carries over to other media spaces or real life.

Digital identity includes:

  • a global computerised representation of self
  • part of overall integrated view of the self
  • requires social activation across multiple mediums, categories & social spaces

Education has become more comfortable with ‘digital identity’ as a phenomenon along positive attitudinal lines. In games, characters (identities) that players inhabit are bound by the game design. Recent online debate (reference Kotaku: “We might be witnessing the death of an identify“, 2014) including representation and treatment of women in the industry.

Dan Goulding (2014) “The End of Gamers”

  • Due to fundamental shifts in the videogame audience, and a move towards progressive attitudes within more traditional areas of videogame culture, the gamer identity has been broken.
  • Videogames have now achieved a purchase on popular culture that is only possible without gamers.
  • Today, videogames are for everyone. I mean this in an almost destructive way. Videogames, to read the other side of the same statement, are not for you. You do not get to own videogames. No one gets to own videogames when they are for everyone. They add up to more than any one group.
  • I am convinced that this marks the end. We are finished here. From now on, there are no more gamers—only players.

Reflection: How might controversies around gamers impact self-identity in the workplace or classroom. For example: Is being a ‘gamer’ now seen with misogynistic overtones. Is it something you want to activate as part of your digital identity? How are you going to incorporate games into your digital identity?

I think Goulding is right to stress that digital/video games are now part of popular culture and are for everyone.I have to hope that such ugliness and harassment within the industry and gaming community since Dan Goulding wrote his article has disappeared. However, though my readings are very limited on digital games and gender, I have a feeling that gender both within the community and within the development of games may still be an ongoing conversation. I know that in my small section of the world in the school library, that the game players are overwhelmingly boys in our middle school. During primary lunchtime, there is a greater balance of boys and girls playing online games. I am planning to read the article Goulding refers to by Adrienne Shaw (2012) Do you identifiy as a gamer? Gender, race, sexuality, and gamer identity. As to incorporating games into my digital identity, it raises questions of the overlap and blurring of lines between our professional and personal lives. Social media has a lot to do with this too. Can we have more than one digital identity? Can we keep the professional and personal separate? Should we?

Course notes: Frameworks developed which have become part of canon of player traits and characteristics about games and their players “… to study play, player motivation and other aspects of digital games” (Mena, 2012, p.75, Introductory sentence).

Adam’s article/post (2004):

” One of the worst annoyances of video gaming is the designers who want to show off how clever they are.Interrupting the players’ immersion in order to remind them “Don’t forget, it’s only a game!” may be the designers being playful, but the game is supposed to provide gameplay for the players, not for the designers. Such cute gimmicks don’t improve the players’ experience; they harm it…”

Reflection on Adam’s article: After the theoretical language of Mena (which I must admit to switching off with), I enjoyed reading Adam’s post. It made for easier reading and deeper understanding considering my novice status into the world of gaming. I could also clearly see Tactical Immersion (through the experience of my twin sons playing games such as League of Legends):

  • immersion in the moment-by-moment act of playing the game
  • fast action games
  • being “in the zone”
  • physical & immedieate
  • higher brain functions largely shut down, player becomes “pair of eyes directly communicating with your fingers”
  • simple challenges to solve within fraction of a second
  • Forget about the story or larger strategy (is usually only about survival)
  • needs a flawless user interface, that responds rapidly, intuitively, reliably

I could similarly relate to Strategic Immersion, in my own limited play of Lara Croft Go where I can see myself immersed in:

  •  a cerebral kind of involvement with the game
  • seeking a path to victory, or at least to optimize a situation.
  • finding the right move among a vast number of possibilities
  • observing, calculating, deducing
  • offers enjoyable mental challenges
  • players deeply involved in the strategy of the game – seldom that interested in the story

Narrative Immersion, on the other hand, I have only experienced, as yet, in books, which is what Adam’s acknowledges:

“Narrative immersion in games is much the same as it is in books or movies”. I imagine it would be achieved in such interactive fiction as Inanimate Alice:

  •  player gets immersed in a narrative when he or she starts to care about the characters and wants to know how the story is going to end
  • What creates narrative immersion is good storytelling, and what destroys it is bad storytelling: clumsy dialog, stupid characters, unrealistic plots

Reflection: Discussion Forum: Digital identity. How does the choices we make about immersion connect with the types of digital identity created? How are the intersections between teacher, technologist and gamer received by your peers? How are you going to create and maintain a professional identity which includes games based learning as a specialism? Add your comments in the Discussion Forum.

This is a huge ‘jump in the ocean’ transferring this knowledge of digital identity into the classroom.  Certainly the types of games that we include within our teaching programmes to achieve learning outcomes, will influence the types of digital identities that our students will create. If I consider Mena (2012) and the games and game based learning that we currently promote within our classrooms, then the digital identities our students will adopt will be those influenced by the structured gameplay of educational games with rules and repeatability. At home, meanwhile, our students’ identities may be more informal and fluid depending on the games they play. I imagine that multiplayer freeform games such as Minecraft may allow for “less planning and more thinking on your feet or instinct in order to accomplish the goals” (Mena, 2012, p. 85). These games, allow for more individual digital identies and creativity. However, within the context of the classroom, they must be on a continuum between the two extreme types of games and play, considering that teachers need to plan for explicit learning outcomes.

So, how are the intersections between teacher, technologist and gamer received by my peers, whether it is my ‘dipping my toe’ into digital games and information literacy or other colleagues incorporating digital games into their teaching practice? I don’t think enough conversations are happening between teachers. My own experience is that these intersections are happening on an individual basis (or perhaps collaborative basis among teams/year levels). Perhaps, this is the first step to have conversations happening? I Twitter as a communication tool, for myself, is providing me with this type of conversation with other educators around the globe.  As for my own professional identity, I  think I need to look closely at my current information and digital literacy programme and push myself to incorporate digital games, and to keep learning and playing digital games myself.

Course notes:

“Identity is also bound up in ongoing investigations about information. The more complex the game environment, systems and culture a game is, the more complex information powering it is. Playing a complex game requires players to create and manage their identity constantly, across categories of games and social groups. While more research is needed into how digital game identify formation contributes to, and impacts upon macro ‘digital identity’, there is growing support for inclusion as a positive component of digital identity from both a literacy and social stance.

Inside information networks, players may or may not choose to identify as ‘gamers’ or with any particular group. At the same time, they will take on identities in the game as part of their immersion in the game. These may be characters who play various roles in the game. Some of the character archetypes will be limited or rigid (simple arcade games) or evolving and complex (Online Multiplayers). Identity may be activated and constructed, for example, where gamers use their online name to represent themselves to others, or hidden to avoid their real identity being published or known online. No matter what players choose to do, their identity is created and re-created through reciprocal communications between other players and machines. This adds to the complexity of ‘digital identity’ and the choices individuals and groups make about them and further highlights that these skills can and should be part of the broader efforts by education to see students create and manage positive identity online.”


Adams, E. (2004). Postmodernism and the three types of immersion. Retrieved January 12, 2015, from

Mena, R. J. R. (2012). Player types, play styles, and play complexity: Updating the entertainment grid.International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 2(2), 75–89. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2012040105