Abstract Details

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Why So Toxic? Screen Recordings Of Player Jargon In Esports Within An Educational Context

Esports as a phenomenon is more and more visible within an educational context. Through player focused research endeavours, we are able to better understand the online game culture. Offensive language is currently established as player jargon (Pulos, 2013) as well as a rapid form of communication in a fast paced competition format (Kiuorti, 2019). Here, player jargon is exemplified with excerpts from an ethnographic research project (2017-2018) in an esports programme at a vocational school in Finland. The participants studied esports as a minor subject but did not play video games together during lessons. As school representatives, they were encouraged to play together as a team in their spare time on a weekly basis. The teammates and the game, in particular, might not be their primary choice otherwise. Activity during the entire program was required to get course credits. Seven focus students (all male, 17-18 years old) from two teams regularly shared screen recordings (with a total of 14 matches) from the multiplayer game Counter Strike: Global Offensive to the researcher. The participants themselves did the screen recordings, which in contrast to other possible methods of data collection such as fieldnotes from observing a livestream, offers a documented player perspective on online game culture. The matches recorded were played in competitive mode, however, not as part of organized events. Regular meetings with the participants, held at their school, functioned as interviews and were recorded. Stimulated recall (Pitkånen, 2015) on relevant sequences from the screen recordings was employed during all interviews apart from the first. Both teams have submitted wins and losses and have submitted recordings from various maps. Through the screen recordings, the researcher thereby got insights into a space no outsider had access to, as the external voice chat (a Discord channel), was only open to invited players. This abstract is part of a book proposal on using video in educational research (Rusk & Ronning). The aim of the planned chapter is to exemplify and discuss how player jargon is used within esports in an educational context. Previous analysis of the data (Ståhl & Rusk, submitted) note that language, offensive language in particular, is an important part of the player identity. Language use, which occasionally includes homophobic and/or misogynistic comments, is particularly problematic when esports meet education and the player jargon collides with the educational values of the school. Further, the chapter aims to discuss how video research, in this case screen recordings, provided the possibility to analyse player jargon within a new educational field of research.

Keywords: player jargon, esports, vocational education, screen recordings, ethnography


Kiuorti, E. (2019). “Shut the Fuck up Re! 1 Plant the Bomb Fast!” Reconstructing Language and Identity in First-person Shooter Games. In A. Ensslin and I. Balteiro (Eds.). Approaches to Videogame Discourse: Lexis, Interaction, Textuality (pp.157- 177). New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Pitkånen, J. (2015). Studying thoughts: Stimulated recall as a game research method. In Game Research Methods (pp. 117-132)

Pulos, A. (2013). Confronting Heteronormativity in Online Games: A Critical Discourse Analysis of LGBTQ Sexuality in World of Warcraft. Games and Culture, 8(2), 77-97. DOI: 10.1177/1555412013478688

Rusk, F. & Ronning, W. (n.d.) Bruk av video på forskjellige laeringsarenaer: Mer enn klasseromsforskning.

St&aringhl, M., Rusk, F. (under review) Weapon customization, player competence and team discourse – exploring player identity construction and co-construction in Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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