Playing with Play: Using expansive play to create new meaningful experiences in Hotline Miami
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This thesis aims to show that games can offer a wealth of experiences outside of a ‘normal’ or ‘intended’ reading. When approaching games with an open mind, research can uncover hidden meanings and new perspectives. Using both an extensive interpretational (procedural) analysis and the concept of expansive play as research tools, this thesis excavates unexplored regions in the space of possibility of the popular indie game Hotline Miami. This approach will show that not only can engaging with a game in deviant ways account for a wider variety in play style within game research, it can also open up Hotline Miami as a critical cultural object to reveal new meaning and new learning experiences about the nature of violence. Through demonstrating the potential of expansive play as a research method, this paper aims to add weight to the argument to widen the scope of academic research to not only simply play games, but to also play with games as researchers.