Reading videogames as (authorless) literature
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This article presents the outcomes of research, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in England and informed by work in the fields of new literacy research, gaming studies and the socio-cultural framing of education, for which the videogame L. A. Noire was studied within the orthodox framing of the English literature curriculum at A level (pre-university) and undergraduate (degree level) in the United Kingdom. A mixed methods approach was adopted. Firstly, students contributed to a gameplay blog requiring them to discuss their in-game experience through the 'language game' of English literature, culminating in answering a question constructed with the idioms of the subject's set text 'final examination'. Secondly, students taught their teachers to play L. A. Noire, with free choice over the context for this collaboration. Thirdly, participants returned to traditional roles to work through a set of study materials, designed to reproduce the conventions of the 'study guide' for literature education. Fourthly, interviews were conducted after each phase. The interviews informed a redrafting of the study materials, which are now available online for teachers. In the act of inserting the study of L. A. Noire into the English literature curriculum as currently framed, this research raises epistemological questions about 'subject identity', and the implications for digital transformations of texts for ideas about cultural value in schooled literacy and also the politics of 'expertise' in pedagogic relations. © 2013 UKLA.