What kind of a thing is a digital game, and how does it affect our lives? Our work on these questions began with a social science project in 2007 and went on with a book about digital game industry in Turkey (2008), and an edited book on digital game culture in general (2009).

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In this project the digital game culture in Turkey has been analysed both comprising the gaming practices and local game development process. These two topics has been analyzed with the media studies perspective, from cultural studies approach and using the  concept of cultural industry. This study is a qualitative  one, and firstly an ethnographic field research has been conducted in Internet cafes in Ankara micro scale. With this field work the socialization practices among youngsters and children have been displayed and these places have been once more recognized as public places where these people meet. Secondly, the local digital game production process has been analyzed in order to draw a topography of the industry.  For this purpose indepth-interviews are conducted with the Turkish game developers and producers. Consequently, we can say that digital games are social phenomenon. However, the representation of digital games and Internet cafes in mainstream media and by public authorities is problematic. A possible solution proposed in this study is to develop new media literacy among users so that they can engage with media texts with the sense of responsibility and ethical considerations.  Secondly, the development process of local digital game development, its dynamics and articulation to the global market has been considered with the problem areas of the field, so that the public authorities can formulate a policy regarding the issue.


Dijital Oyun RehberiOur second book:

Dijital Oyun Rehberi

Digital Game Reader

Kalkedon Publication, İstanbul, 2009

Unlike the first book that considers games as an industry, this study primarily calls attention to the cultural aspects of digital games. Traditional games, simulation, game design, value chain, gamers’ participation to production, modding and machinima; Turkish gamers, game expertise; MUDs, real life simulations, massively-multiplayer online games and digital game studies form the main subjects treated in the book. In addition, there is a dictionary of digital game culture that contains 155 terms at the last chapter of the book.

Mutlu Binark
Günseli Bayraktutan-Sütcü
Işık Barış Fidaner

Cover design:
Başar Uğur

Table of Contents

Chapter I:
Geleneksel Oyundan Sanal Uzama Oyun ve Dijital Oyun Tasarımı
Digital Game Design From Traditional Game to Virtual Space

  1. Gelenekselden Sanala-Mekândan Uzama Oyun Kültürü – Hasan Akbulut
    Game Culture from Traditional to Virtual-from Space to Extension
  2. Makinelerin Anlattıkları – Işık Barış Fidaner
    What Machines Tell
  3. Dijital Oyun Tasarımı – Burak Barmanbek
    Digital Game Design
  4. Türkiye’de Yeni Bir Yaratıcı Endüstri: Oyun Stüdyoları ve Dijital Oyunlarda Değer Zincirinin Üretilmesi – Mutlu Binark
    A New Creative Industry in Turkey: Reproduction of Value Chain in Game Studios and Digital Games
  5. Mod Yapımı: Oyunlarla Oynayanlar – Işık Barış Fidaner
    Mod Making: Those Who Play With Games

Chapter II:
Dijital Oyun Kültüründe En Önemli Aktörler: Dijital Oyuncular
Primary Agents in Digital Game Culture: Digital Gamers

  1. Türkiye’de İnternet Kafelerde Dijital Oyuncular
    Yeni Medya Okuryazarlığı Neden Gerekli? – M.Binark, G. Bayraktutan Sütcü ve F.Buçakcı
    Digital Gamers in the Internet Cafes in Turkey
    Why is Media Literacy Necessary?
  2. Oyun Uzmanlığı: Profesyonel Bir Kariyer – Murat Yavuz Kaplan
    Game Expertise: A Professional Career

Chapter III:
Dijital Oyun Türleri
Digital Game Genres

  1. Sözcüklerden Yapılmış Dünyalar: MUD’lar – Işık Barış Fidaner
    Worlds Made of Words: MUDs
  2. Yeni Bir Türün İnşası: Gerçek Yaşam Simülasyonları – Burak Doğu
    Constructing A New Genre: Real Life Simulations
  3. Devasa Çevrimiçi Oyunlarda Türklüğün Oynanması: Silkroad Online’da Sanal Cemaat İnşası ve Türk Klan Kimliği – M.Binark ve G. Bayraktutan Sütcü
    Playing the Turkishness in Massively-Multiplayer Online Games: Virtual Community Making and Turkish Clan Identity in Silkroad Online

IV. Bölüm:
Dijital Oyun Kültürü Çalışmaları ve Yöntem
Digital Game Culture Studies and Method

  1. Türkiye’de Dijital Oyun Kültürü Çalışmaları ve Dijital Oyun Kültürü Nasıl Çalışılabilir? – G.Bayraktutan Sütcü
    How Can One Study Digital Game Culture Studies and Digital Game Culture in Turkey?
  2. Dijital Oyun Kültürü Sözlüğü – B.Barmambek , I.B. Fidaner ve Merlin’in Kazanı
    Dictionary of Digital Game Culture


Our first book:

Kültür Endüstrisi Olarak Dijital OyunKültür Endüstrisi olarak Dijital Oyun

Digital Game as a Culture Industry

by Mutlu Binark and Günseli Bayraktutan-Sütcü

Kalkedon Publication, İstanbul, 2008

This book is based on the some findings of  the Research Project, called “DIGITAL GAME CULTURE AND INTERNET CAFE USAGE PATTERNS OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN TURKEY: ONLINE AND OFFLINE IDENTITY EXERCISES, IMMOBILE SOCIALIZATION AND VIRTUAL CAREERE-AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY IN ANKARA” (TÜBİTAK-SOBAG 107K039) that is financially supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey.

In this book, we particularly focus on the history of Turkish game development from the perspectives of political and cultural economy. Digital game development has a short history in Turkey, though the country is one of the well-known geographies where the gaming cultures has been spread out in public sphere because of Internet cafés and free to play online games (i.e. MMORPG’s). Firstly, we briefly go through the history of Turkish game development; secondly, we will draw the topography of Turkish digital game industry from four dimensions: industrial structure and development process, publishing and licensing issues, distribution and marketing issues, and labor force. In this work, qualitative research methods are applied, such as in-depth semi-structured interviews with the representatives of the digital game industry throughout Turkey are carried as well as the participant observations at the game studious in İstanbul and in Ankara. In order to map out the general situation of Turkish game industry, we carried semi-structured in-depth interviews with game designers, engine developers, project leaders, publishers, distributors, digital game magazine’s editors and free lance writers, the editors of web site’s on game culture, pro-gamers and their managers, Internet café owners, Internet café users, the Director of Tüm Internet Evleri Derneği(Association of the All Internet Houses in Turkey, abbreviated in Turkish as TİEV) from Spring 2007 to Summer 2008. All of these interviews are audio-visually recorded with the permissions of the participants. Moreover, we organized a workshop and four panel sessions on the development of digital game industry in Turkey, invited all the actors, mentioned above.* The voice recordings of all of these activities are used to develop the topography, and to frame the problematic of Turkish digital game industry. Based on our ethnographic field recordings, we discuss the main problematics of the Turkish game developers and game studies such as the lack of cultural policy of public institutions, the difficulty to find investors, the need of both co-operation and competition among the existent developers, the stigmatization of game culture by mainstream mass media, the difficulty to find publishers and distributors both in local and the transnational market, the lack of experienced of programmer culture and e-sport league and lastly the unclear regulations of intellectual property rights or copyrights. In this work, we consider digital games as the ideal cultural products of transnational and promotional capitalism.

So, if the Turkish game industry will exist, it has to establish the production process and produce the value chain required by the promotional capitalism. At the end, throughout these analyses we would like to suggest a policy frame for the digital game development in Turkey. Especially, we suggest that the Turkish game developers are at first needed to communicate and share their experience through academic platforms. Secondly, there is a need for an established cultural and economical policy of the governmental authorities to support the development of these cultural products.

*: The workshop was held in March 14th 2008, and the four panel sessions were organized on about the development process, distribution and marketing process and the role of computer game magazines; one on March 4th 2008 in Ankara and three sessions on March 14th in İstanbul, after the workshop.

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