Should I stay or should I go? Boundary maintaining mechanisms in Left 4 Dead 2
Paper i proceeding, 2012

In this paper we report an ethnographic study of Pick Up Groups (PUGs) in the game Left 4 Dead 2. Our aim with the study is to contribute with a deeper understanding of how these new social arenas are constituted by its’ participants and the role game design plays in structuring these encounters. As a deliberate attempt to go beyond the discussion in the game studies field about formalism versus play studies, we use both concepts from micro-sociology as well as concepts from the field of game design as our analytical framework. Our results shows that the dynamics of a PUG can be understood in relation to how players uphold and negotiate the boundary between the their in-game-identity based on their gaming skill and a other social relations outside of the game context.


Gameplay design patterns

Pick Up Groups

Frame analysis



Jonas Linderoth

Göteborgs universitet

Staffan Björk

Göteborgs universitet

Camilla Olsson

Göteborgs universitet

Proceedings of DiGRA Nordic 2012 Conference: Local and Global: Games in Culture and Society



Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

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