dint u say that: Digital Discourse, Digital Natives and Gameplay


  • Theresa A. O National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • John Grantham Systems Plus
  • Wyatt Wong Forterra Systems Inc
  • Kevin Workman Millersville University
  • Alexander Wang Cornell University




collaboration, computer mediated communication, digital discourse, digital natives, discourse analysis, games, roleplaying, usability engineering, collaborative virtual environments, virtual worlds, video games


Discourse analysis has the potential of providing insight into gameplay dynamics and team success. However, because of factors such as interrupted sequences, gameplay discourse does not easily lend itself to discourse analysis. Therefore, in addition to traditional methods, new and modified discourse analysis methods were applied to a corpus of 858 discrete gameplay discourse events disclosing discourse characteristics during collaborative problem solving. Four teams of four digital natives each played PanelPuzzle, a limited-time span, goal-oriented game, in a virtual environment. Discourse both reflected and impacted team dynamics. It manifested leadership. To promote team success, gameplay digital discourse tone was serious, showing little evidence of fun although players reported enjoying gameplay. Brevity, ill-formedness and distorted syntax were chief characteristics, but, because it was goal-oriented, it differed markedly from reported social digital discourse. Digital natives used digital discourse effectively to communicate, build community, collaborate and accomplish gameplay tasks. We conclude that gameplay digital discourse constitutes a distinct linguistic register which prioritizes efficiency over well-formedness. We characterize this register in a taxonomy and a meta-taxonomy.






Peer Reviewed Research Papers