Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
This dissertation builds on Wenner's (Wenner, L.A. (1989). Media, Sports and Society: The Research Agenda. In L. A. Wenner (Ed.), Media, Sports and Society (pp. 13-48). Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.) claims about how the culture of sport is changed as it is mediated by examining the mediation of sport through four digital sports games produced by Electronic Arts--Fight Night Round 2, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, MVP Baseball 2005, and John Madden Football 2005. Following the example of digital game scholars, I employ a multi-level method of textual analysis in engaging the representation and gameplay of these respective titles. The dissertation uses three case studies to tease out the ideological implications of these games as they position their users. The fourth case study examines how the digital sports game audience responds to the ideologies and positioning identified in the textual analysis sections.
In responding to the broader optimism of new media theorists, I argue for a consideration of the specific context of the digital sports game as a way into measuring the validity of their positions. In looking at the mediation of the body in Fight Night Round 2, golf and its attendant culture in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, the ubiquitous quantification of MVP Baseball 2005, and audience responses to John Madden Football 2005, I argue that the potential freedom certain strands of new media theory proclaim is constrained by the ideologies resident in the texts examined here and the ways in which these digital sports games position their users. As such, scrutinizing these specific new media contexts reveals we should ultimately be cautious about the degree to which they offer the kinds of progressive freedoms advocated by celebratory new media scholarship.
Copyright 2006 Andrew Paul Baerg