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Re-curating the Accident: Speedrunning as Community and Practice


Re-curating the Accident: Speedrunning as Community and Practice

Scully-Blaker, Rainforest (2016) Re-curating the Accident: Speedrunning as Community and Practice. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis is concerned with speedrunning, the practice of completing a video game as quickly as possible without the use of cheats or cheat devices as well as the community of players that unite around this sort of play. As video games become increasingly ubiquitous in popular media and culture, the project of accounting for and analysing how people interact with these pieces of software becomes more relevant than ever before. As such, this thesis emerges as an initiatory treatment of a relatively niche segment of game culture that has gone underrepresented in extant game and media scholarship. The text begins by discussing speedrunning as a community. By chronicling the community’s beginnings on SpeedDemosArchive.com and examining its growth with the emergence of contemporary content hosting sites like YouTube and Twitch, this thesis presents speedrunning as a collaborative and fast-growing community of practice made up of players who revel in playing games quickly. From there, an analysis of space and speed, both natural and virtual, is undertaken with a view to understanding how speedrunning as a practice relates to games as narrative spaces. Discussions of rule systems in games and within the speedrunning community itself follow. It is ultimately argued that speedrunning is a museum of accidents, a re-curating of a game according to what this thesis calls its explicit rules. This claim is expanded upon through the coining of a concept dubbed curatorial play as well as several case studies of developer responses to various games being speedrun.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Scully-Blaker, Rainforest
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:September 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Consalvo, Mia
Keywords:Media studies, game studies, video game, play, instrumental play, player studies, player community, museum of accidents, community of practice, speed, space, speedrun,
ID Code:982159
Deposited On:27 Jan 2017 20:47
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54


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