Gaming and Information Behavior

Gaming and Information Behavior

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8175-0.ch010


Library and Information Science (LIS) can sometimes be solely focused on libraries, but information science is also important for providing information for video games. Information science helps to provide the understanding of the different information behaviors that exists within video games, by individuals, by groups, and also how information outside of video games can contribute to video game culture and community. Much of the research that already exists within information science can already help with video games; it is just a matter of understanding what applies and where. Video games are made up of information; making sure that the information is being portrayed in the best way possible for the players is a way that information professionals can help the video game world. This chapter explores gaming and information behavior.
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Gaming And Information Behavior

Information behavior is the opposite side of the chapter on gaming and health. Gaming and health is how video games influence and/or affect changes in an individual or group (hurt or harm). Information behavior is how the individual reacts with the game, and can affect the game, or interacts with the game; collecting information from the game, and how that happens. The trick here is trying to understand the motivations or processes for why individuals (players) actually play games, what activities they perform while playing games, how they go about those activities, and for what purpose. Understanding the information behavior of gamers is important for more fully understanding players as a subculture.

Please make sure to read Chapter 1 before continuing on in this chapter. The ideas and discussions in Chapter 1 are fundamental to what is talked about here, and provides a framework or platform on which many of the discussions here can take place. There is a great amount of detail on game/player type, structure, and/or classification, and having a common vocabulary before reading more of this chapter is recommended.

For each of the different genres or games that will be talked about in this section, there are a number of different concepts that are ubiquitous and overlap them all, but in different ways. Many of the different ways information is communicated, sought, or processed has to do with the senses: sight, sound, or touch (Tasting or smelling video games are probably a ways off). There are definitely more ways to talk about information behaviors, and more will be addressed, but these thoughts need to be kept in mind because they are the fundamental ways in which most games provide information to a user.

Why, then, is it important to discuss different types of games in such detail? Why is there not just one general rule or idea for all video games and their information behavior? It is important to break it down for each different type of game and/or behavior because, as has been noted previously in this book: different games provide different activities and benefits. This is readily apparent in the conclusions that were brought forth in the video games and health chapter, as well as the video games and education chapter. Playing different games can significantly affect different changes on individuals, so it is important to understand why those changes are.

Because of the wide range of experiences that can be associated with playing video games, this chapter will focus on a number of different information behaviors. The start of the chapter will focus on the direct connection between an individual player and a game, the most fundamental relationship that can be had with playing a video game. As the chapter progresses and moves on, the information activities described will become more and more complicated, and will actually stop having anything to do at all with directly playing a video game. It is a matter of understanding the information environment that video game players can exist in, and that is an environment that does not end with the game. The environment extends beyond the game and can become an entire community, a social structure, and even encompass many different parts of the Internet.

Before talking about specific behaviors, it is important to separate out the specific pieces of information behavior that are being discussed; to provide a framework in which to have the conversation about video games and information behavior. The framework(s) may shift a bit depending on the type of information being discussed, but overall, the framework will involve Wilson (1981) and the relationship between individuals and the systems they are using, and Hunicke et al. (2004) which discusses a framework for games specifically, and how the games present information from a designer to a player.

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