Categories
Articles (refereed) Research

“The Long Tale of Downloadable Convergence”

Citation: Payne, Matthew Thomas. “The Long Tale of Downloadable Convergence.” The Velvet Light Trap, 81 (Spring 2018): 70-73.

Abstract: …

Categories
Articles (non-refereed) Research

“Wicked Games, Part III: Caution — Contents May Be Hot…and Hidden”

Citation: Payne, Matthew Thomas and Peter Alilunas. “Wicked Games, Part III: Caution — Content May Be Hot…and Hidden.” Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture 22.6 (April 2016). Solicited for inclusion.

Categories
Other essays

“Beyond Minnows and Whales: Reconstructing Mobile Gaming for the Cross-Platform Franchise”

Citation:
Steirer, Gregory and Matthew T. Payne. “Beyond Minnows and Whales: Reconstructing Mobile Gaming for the Cross-Platform Franchise.” White Paper research report presented to Warner Bros. Digital Distribution as part of the Connected Viewing Initiative sponsored by Warner Bros. and the University of California at Santa Barbara (2015).

Executive Summary:
This project identifies and evaluates possible methods of employing mobile gaming apps so as to support and increase consumption of cross-platform gaming franchises. In particular, we sought to analyze mobile gaming models that could drive engagement of cross-platform franchise games through connectivity features. We used market analysis, interface analysis, and small-scale focus testing among student gamers in order to identify the most promising engagement and cross-platform connectivity mechanisms given the current state of the mobile market and Warner Bros.’ own specific franchise and genre priorities. After producing an overview of the market and a general taxonomy of connectivity mechanisms, we examined the functionality of cross-platform interfaces according to three criteria: connectivity, visual/haptic design, and behavioral incentives. Though we expect publishers to continue to experiment with cross-platform franchise design over the next few years, our research suggests that unlockables represent the best mobile-to-console connectivity mechanism for their desirability and simplicity. Once we had concluded our primary research, we then applied our findings to the nascent WBPlay system so as to suggest how our research might inform WBIE’s future strategy with respect to cross-platform apps.

Categories
Edited Book Chapters

“Militarism and Online Games”

Citation:

Huntemann, Nina B. and Matthew Thomas Payne. “Militarism and Online Games.” International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society Volume 3. Eds. James Ivory and Aphra Kerr. Blackwell-Wiley,  2015.

Abstract:

This essay describes the interlinking histories of video games and militarism. It contends that the history of video games is incomplete without an accounting of the role that defense interests play in the technological development and popularization of military-themed games. The piece introduces key concepts and titles worthy of scholarly attention.

Categories
Articles (non-refereed)

“Critical War Play”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. “Critical War Play.” Communication Currents 9.5 (December 2014). Solicited for inclusion.

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“Parody as Brand: The Case of [adult swim]’s Paracasual Advergames”

Citation:

Gurney, David & Matthew Thomas Payne. “Parody as Brand: The Case of [adult swim]’s Paracasual Advergames.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 2014.

Abstract:

Advergames – a neologism for video games designed to advertise a product or service – are marketing devices employed to impact consumers’ purchasing decisions and, more frequently, shape their impressions of a promoted brand. The online advergames of the programming block-turned-media brand [adult swim] present a clear case in which the games act as rich signifiers of brand aesthetics even if they are not directly connected to the content of the brand’s TV shows, live events, and other assorted merchandise. Although these “casual”-style titles have gameplay mechanics that are accessible to broad audiences, these advergames often exhibit a critical stance toward other games, which differentiates them from the vast majority of casual games on the market. But rather than being anti-casual, we argue that these games are best understood as being paracasual because they use parody to both trouble prevailing definitions of casual games and advergames, and deploy an aesthetic disposition that further helps define the brand. Furthermore, they are an increasingly visible and vital component of a constellation of texts and practices that function as what James Paul Gee calls an “affinity space” for a lucrative audience demographic. This article assesses how [adult swim] games use parody to deconstruct textually video gaming’s most popular genres, and how such parodic deconstruction, as evidenced by players’ online discussions, serves as an affinity space for a media-savvy taste culture.

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“Policing the Sandbox in Grand Theft Auto Online”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. & Fleisch, Michael. “Policing the Sandbox in Grand Theft Auto Online,” Media Fields 8 (2014).

 

Abstract:

From the issue’s introduction: “The first essay in this issue, Matthew Thomas Payne and Michael Fleisch’s “Policing the Sandbox in Grand Theft Auto Online” explores the theme of the playground directly. Considering RockStar’s machinations in Grand Theft Auto Online against players’ attempts to manipulate the economic structure of the game’s open world, Payne and Fleisch highlight the fraught politics of policing a space that on its surface purports to offer players a world in which rules are made to be broken. In this sense, play takes on a para-ludic character as cunning players find ways to manipulate the game’s virtual marketplace while the developer moves to protect a vested interest in the game’s real economic potential, carefully curated micro-transactions.”

Categories
Edited Book Chapters

“Connected Viewing, Connected Capital: Fostering Gameplay Across Screens”

Citation:
Payne, Matthew Thomas. “Connected Viewing, Connected Capital: Fostering Gameplay Across Screens.” Connected Viewing: Selling, Sharing, and Streaming Media in a Digital Era. Edited by Jennifer Holt and Kevin Sanson (New York: Routledge, 2014): 183-201.

From the anthology’s Introduction:
“Matthew Thomas Payne considers how gamers participate in transmedia play as a way to connect with fellow players, and how these extended forms of immersion add interest in franchises and build users’ gaming capital.” (p. 10)

Categories
Other essays

“Key Issues in Digital Ecosystem Design and Implementation”

Citation:

Steirer, Gregory & Payne, Matthew Thomas. “Key Issues in Digital Ecosystem Design and Implementation.” White Paper research report presented to Warner Bros. Digital Distribution as part of the Connected Viewing Initiative sponsored by Warner Bros. and the University of California at Santa Barbara (2014).

Abstract:

Reflective of increased industry convergence, this project examines digital game and video distribution within a comparative frame to highlight how these models can be developed and applied across divisions. In a media distribution landscape awash with diverse models of content delivery, the video game industry has pursued a policy of experimentation and innovation with respect to the digital distribution of their goods and services and has therefore upended earlier approaches to monetization and radically changed consumers’ relationships to games and game-related properties. These models of digital game distribution have important implications for the digital distribution of long-form video, and this project will examine how these models could be adapted to “gamify” video distribution.

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“War Bytes: The Critique of Militainment in Spec Ops: The Line

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. “War Bytes: The Critique of Militainment in Spec Ops: The Line.Critical Studies in Media Communication 31(4) (2014): 265-282.

Abstract:

The vast majority of commercial military-themed video games produced after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks celebrate Americas War on Terror as a grave but necessary and patriotic undertaking. This essay argues that the multi-platform Spec Ops: The Line (2012) runs counter to this tradition in recent military entertainment (or militainment) by engendering a host of gameplay displeasures that critique the interactive attractions of mainstream first- and third-person shooters. In particular, the games brutal mise-en-scène, its intertextual references to popular war media, and its real and imagined opportunities for player choice create a discordant feeling that lays bare the problematic ease with which most video war games indulge in their nationalistic power fantasies. The result is a game that wields its affective distance as a critique of the necessary illusion that all military shooters trade in, but one that so few acknowledge.

Categories
Articles (non-refereed)

“Redesigning Game Industry Studies”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. & Steirer, Gregory. “Redesigning Game Industry Studies.” Creative Industries Journal 7.1 (May 2014): 67-71. Solicited for inclusion.

First Paragraph:
“What exactly is a video game? How do we as gamers experience its liminal bounds? Moreover, how do we as scholars delimit those experiential parameters for the purposes of study? These are, of course, enduring questions for game studies. However, in the coming years, as digital games continue to grow in popularity, we believe that these questions will become increasingly germane to creative industries studies as well. Individual video games, both as discrete cultural texts and as engines of play, will become harder to pin down in response to the dual challenges posed by saturated markets and digital distribution. In other words, as cultural producers create more kinds of games for more kinds of players, defining what a game is with any certainty will require updated research tools and methodologies. In this piece we want to highlight two research areas that will be vital for future media industries scholarship in general, and games studies in particular: distribution and marketing.” (p. 67)

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“Gaming Art”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. and Michael Fleisch. “Gaming Art.” Journal for International Digital Media Arts Association 9.1 (Spring 2013).

 

Abstract:

This article makes the case that the “are video games art?” debate — recently reignited when famed film critic Roger Ebert declared that games can never achieve artistic standing — presents us with instructive insights about how popular commodities attain cultural worth. The true value of this public debate lies in the way that it showcases how the discourse itself functions as a kind of game. Furthermore, the debate highlights the need for recognizing video gaming’s power as an engine for creativity and innovation across the arts.

Categories
Other essays

“Wound Raider: Authorizing Trauma in Lara Croft’s Origin Story”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. & Derek Frank. “Wound Raider: Authorizing Trauma in Lara Croft’s Origin Story.” In Media Res: a Media Commons Project. 13 March 2013.

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“Marketing Military Realism in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. “Marketing Military Realism in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,”Games & Culture 7.4 (July 2012): 305-327.

Abstract:

This essay investigates the challenges that video game marketing encounters when selling the pleasures of playing virtual war. While marketing paratexts are crucial to video games because of the vagaries of their industry, they are especially important for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, as it is the first of the franchise to be set in the 21st century and immerse players in contemporary theaters of war. These marketing paratexts not only generate hype for the game and work to drive sales, but as importantly, they also suggest particular textual readings over others with the goal of insulating Call of Duty’s virtual war play from interpretations and criticisms that might link the violent play on-screen to the worldly violence unfolding in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Categories
Other essays

“Advergaming and Niche Branding”

Gurney, David & Payne, Matthew T. “Advergaming and Niche Branding.” In Media Res: a Media Commons Project. 18 August 2011.

Categories
Edited Book Chapters

“Manufacturing Militainment: Video Game Producers and Military Brand Games”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew Thomas. “Manufacturing Militainment: Video Game Producers and Military Brand Games.” War Isn’t Hell, It’s Entertainment: Essays on Visual Media and Representation of Conflict. Edited by Rikke Schubart, Fabian Virchow, Debra White-Stanley & Tanja Thomas. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009: 238-255.

From the anthology’s Introduction:

“We should ask ourselves what the military is thinking when producing video games as instruments of public relations, recruitment, and training. This is exactly what Matthew Thomas Payne does in his essay based on interviews with the head producers of America’s Army (2002), America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier (2005), and Full Spectrum Warrior (2004). These producers become new media cultural brokers whose visions of war and opinions about representation and realism are immensely important in shaping the games that entertain millions of users globally.” (p. 8)

Categories
Edited Book Chapters

“Playing the Deja-New: Plug it in and Play TV Games and the Cultural Politics of Classic Gaming”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. “Playing the Deja-New: Plug it in and Play TV Games and the Cultural Politics of Classic Gaming.” Playing the Past: History and Nostalgia in Video Games. Edited by Zach Whalen and Laurie N. Taylor. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008: 51-68.

From the anthology’s Introduction:

“‘Playing the Deja-New: Plug it in and Play TV Games and the Cultural Politics of Classic Gaming’ discusses the marketing logic and intellectual property issues surrounding the popular dedicated controller devices. Comparing the games licensed for these plug-and-play units with the open source MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), Payne argues that these commercially licensed properties create a revisionary almost mythological narrative of gaming history that downplays the gritty reality that MAME and home-brew community celebrate.”  (pp. 7-8)

Categories
Articles (refereed)

“The Digital Divide and its Discontents”

Citation:

Payne, Matthew T. “The Digital Divide and its Discontents.” Currents in Electronic Literacy 9 (Fall 2005).

 

Abstract:

From the conclusion: “Video games have rarely, if ever, been framed as being of possible benefit to the ICT usage and skills divide. Yet, the three selected video game-related projects demonstrate a myriad of literacies that video games could be constituted to support. Moreover, these groups are all working towards ameliorating various ICT divides. The Education Arcade is addressing the gulf between popular and educational game titles. Flanagan’s RAPUNSEL project works to familiarize young girls with a programming language, thereby addressing the gender gap in the IT work force. And, the work of the Room 130 group addresses the gaping hole in video game scholarship. Seen this way, video games not only have something to say about learning a new language, they also have the potential to bridge existing techno-social inequities, and those still to come.”