Little big scene: Making and playing culture in Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet.

Authors: Grimes, S.M.

Drawing on an on-going, multi-method investigation into Media Molecule's popular LittleBigPlanet video game franchise and its ever-growing network of games, players, activities and events, this paper seeks to explore how the notion of ‘cultural scene’ might be used to better understand and analyse games-based, collaborative cultural activities. The discussion begins with a description of LittleBigPlanet, its contents and history, and the various actors involved in the social shaping of its wide-reaching community. The focus then shifts to identifying some of the ways in which LittleBigPlanet might be understood as functioning as (or at least akin to) a ‘cultural scene’, as well as to exploring those facets of LittleBigPlanet that challenge previous interpretations of this concept and its underlying assumptions. Particular attention will be given to the ways in which the LittleBigPlanet scene reflects, extends and deviates from the geographically situated notions of the cultural scene found in previous works in this area. An argument is made that understanding examples such as LittleBigPlanet as cultural scenes requires more than a shift in our notions and experience of locale, but also necessitates a renewed foregrounding of lingering questions relating to power and privatization within both traditional and digital cultural practice.


Grimes, S.M. (2014). Little big scene: Making and playing culture in Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet. Cultural Studies, OnlineFirst, doi: 10.1080/09502386.2014.937944. [article]

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