Video games through the refrain: Innovation and familiarity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The video game market is dominated by numerous franchises and many players lament that games are becoming boring and repetitive. However it is evident that players desire these games, which sell well. This article suggests that Deleuze and Guattari's refrain can help explain why players desire repetition in games, and what kinds of risks and potentials it can provide. Specifically, in regard to game-play I consider elements including genre and mechanics, and player's desire to re-experience games. To explore repetition in players I consider game communities and the gamer identity, which can open up players to difference or encourage restriction. I argue that understood through the refrain, repetition in video games has the potential to generate difference, innovation and connections, but also possibly a closing off. The refrain is a useful tool for games studies and industry workers who are interested in understanding how new experiences can emerge from repetition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-302
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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