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Game Design as Textual Poaching: Media Literacy, Creativity and Game-Making

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E-Learning and Digital Media Volume 7, Number 1, ISSN 2042-7530


This article addresses practices of textual appropriation in computer games made by young people. By focusing on how young people's production work makes reference to popular media texts, it examines the basis on which such work claims to be legible as a game text: how it claims to be literate in the context of an after-school game-making club. The analysis builds on studies of "identity work" at play in children's discussions of popular media, but develops this by looking at practices of media production rather than consumption. To realise this move, the article draw on methods of textual analysis developed for the study of multimodal, interactive texts. The article contributes to debates about the nature of creativity and how this can be taught and learned, particularly with respect to media education. It draws on an account of creativity developed by Vygotsky, in which creativity is described in terms of the transformation of cultural resources using semiotic tools, including concepts. This account allows the positioning moves realised by young people's game texts in terms of creative literacy practices to be traced, whilst avoiding notions of creativity which are either reductively skill based or unhelpfully celebratory. (Contains 15 figures.)


Pelletier, C., Burn, A. & Buckingham, D. (2010). Game Design as Textual Poaching: Media Literacy, Creativity and Game-Making. E-Learning and Digital Media, 7(1), 90-107. Retrieved February 1, 2023 from .

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