A browser-based advergame as communication catalyst: types of communication in video games
Video games are a comprehensive, interactive media. Online games foster communication and extend the range of communication types considerably. We examine prevailing types of communication in video games using the browser-based advergame Fliplife. This game provides all a clear, delimited structure, an unpretentious user interface and the characteristics of a multiplayer online game. Thus Fliplife is an excellent frame to demonstrate the wide range of communication initiated in a video game. Among contained types of communication are verbal and non-verbal communications using graphics and actions/non-actions. Found communication typically serves controlling and coordination of the game play, however private discussions and social banter exist also besides demonstration of player status and community identification. In our work we draw on the basic definition of communication as conveying information from a sender to a recipient. We categorize the found types of communication according to an abstract model of communication derived from common definitions. The compiled enumeration of communication elements and possible manifestations represents a draft of categorization for communication in video games in general. Although it still needs extended validation, this enumeration demonstrates that video games provide frameworks which host and initiate a wide variety of communication. As a significant difference compared to other media, video games and their notion of interactivity allow players to communicate through action and to change roles of sender and receiver.
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