Having been driven by my own experiences for the last few years, it somehow feels artificial to try and find the ‘next’ game to play to work on. One of the things that I struggled with was (and still is) defining the scope of my work. I keep struggling with the question of whether I am researching games, or people who play games, or the experience of playing those games. Working with EverQuest (and drawing on my other MMORPG experiences in Dark Age of Camelot, LineageII, Horizons & World of Warcraft) the focus was always about the relationship between the player (basically me) and the game, and the unique elements of the gamespace that influenced the networked process of identity construction.
Now that the primary ideas from that project have been written down (but by no means completely wrapped up) I am not sure what to do. Since the research developed somewhat organically from experiences that were not clouded with a research question behind every click and interaction, the direction it took felt natural. But now that I am supposed to be moving on, trying to figure out what is next, I cannot imagine ‘picking a game’ to play based on a set of research criteria to seek answers to the questions that came out of my thesis. It feels forced.
I am still passionate about finding the answers (or developing answers) to the questions that linger, but I am unsure of how to unearth them in a way that does not feel like I am setting up the labratory to find what I am looking for. I mean, how is selecting a game based on your research questions any different than the lab coat research I am so critical of?