Finding sociality in single player games: A case study of tandem play amongst friends and couples

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Consalvo, Mia; Begy, Jason; Browne, Pierson; Ganzon, Sarah; Scully-Blaker, Rainforest; Waldie, Rebecca
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Researchers have found that games are sites for rich forms of sociality. However, there has been comparatively less research on sociality facilitated by co-located gameplay focused on single-player games, here termed tandem play. This exploratory case study investigated how known player pairs engaged in turn taking and decision-making behaviors while playing a single-player game together, and also how a narrative-driven video game played over multiple sessions impacted their experience. Initial findings suggest that turn taking was an explicitly negotiated choice, and that decision making power did not necessarily rely on who was holding the controller - player pairs developed their own systems for how they made choices. The narrative and well-known franchise on which the game was based gave pairs a strong base from which to work, building themed playthroughs and systemic approaches for how to treat various characters and situations in game. This research provides further evidence that being social in and around games can be accomplished no matter whether the chosen game is a single or a multiplayer title, and in virtual or physical space.