Affect, empathy and a sense of belonging through interaction with videogame music

Reid, George (2015) Affect, empathy and a sense of belonging through interaction with videogame music. In: Thirty-Sixth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts : The Scientific Imagination; 18-22 Mar 2015, Orlando, U.S.. (Unpublished)


“Affect, at its most anthropomorphic, is the name we give to those forces – visceral forces beneath, alongside, or generally other than conscious knowing, vital forces insisting beyond emotion – that can serve to drive us toward movement, toward thought and extension” (Gregg & Seigworth, 2010. L50). My paper will study the nature of in-game empathy through interaction with videogame music, the affect of this empathy, how this affect induces a sense of belonging and the desire to interact with and affect others through fandom interaction; Gregg and Seigworth state, “Affect is integral to a body’s perpetual becoming” (Gregg & Seigworth, 2010. L66). Could this affect be a possible catalyst for videogame music fan identity? If so, this will place my inclusion of affect research in context. In my paper, affect theory will be used as a theoretical framework in which to analyse the behaviour of videogame music fans and result in new insights into their sentiment that have yet to be recognised academically. I will be addressing these ‘forces’ derived from videogame music and this combination of theories as a further understanding of the videogame music fandom and the bond that these fans have with their media. William Cheng and Karen Collins have recently focused on virtual performance through videogames that involve performing ‘live’ music, thus extending the body schema through the use of game controllers acting as instruments (2014, L193-209 & 2013, P89). Despite their valuable contributions to the field of videogame music studies, I feel the incorporation of fan studies; affect theory, and the inclusion of the fans of original soundtracks for videogame will provide a greater scope for understanding these virtual performances and play. My paper will specifically analyse productive videogame music fans that create chiptunes, remixes, and cover versions of videogame soundtracks, most of which voice their experiences in online domains such as the Overclocked Remix community. The result of this research into affect will not only provide insight into how meaning is found in videogame music, it will shed light on the bond between fan and videogame music created by affect, and also be the basis for analysing the resultant productivity and creativity in the artifacts of this fandom.

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