Waiting to play: The labour of background games

Keogh, B and Richardson, I 2018, 'Waiting to play: The labour of background games', European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 13-25.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Waiting to play: The labour of background games
Author(s) Keogh, B
Richardson, I
Year 2018
Journal name European Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume number 21
Issue number 1
Start page 13
End page 25
Total pages 13
Publisher Sage
Abstract Mobile smartphone devices have seen the rise and proliferation of a variety of new modes of digital play. In particular, the short and sporadic modes of engagement that define mobile screen practices have seen the smartphone become home to a range of 'casual' game genres that promote quick and flexible engagements, in stark contrast to the enduring and committed engagements demanded by home consoles and desktop computer games. People frequently play mobile games while doing other things - waiting at the bus stop, lying in bed and watching television. This has seen the increasing popularity of a new genre of videogame play almost exclusive to mobile platforms: the background game. As we define them, background games require the player to set up a series of tasks which are then completed over a duration of actual hours while the player goes about their day. In this way, such games can be considered 'ambient', as they become seamlessly embedded into players' everyday lives. Drawing from interviews conducted with mobile game players in Brisbane and Perth, this article works to articulate how background games are engaged with within existing practices of mobile and social play to interrogate and complicate existing understandings of 'play' and 'labour' around digital games.
Subject Commercial Services not elsewhere classified
Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Ambient play
Casual games
Digital play
Game studies
Mobile media
Mobile play
DOI - identifier 10.1177/1367549417705603
Copyright notice © 2017 The Author(s)
ISSN 1367-5494
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