For this week's fieldwork assignment I chose to observe a group of people playing Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) at Union's basement. DDR is a game where a person stands on a platform with 4 arrows on it (forward, backward, left and right) and facing a screen. The screen dictates when a person will need to step on an arrow which follows the beat of a song chosen by the player. At first when I arrived at the basement, someone was just finishing up a game so I sat down to wait for the next few people to play, but truth be told, it took a while. Since this game costs money there wasn't an unlimited amount of times that people could play at this game. It all depended on a monetary effort. Once the next person chose the song and started playing the game, I could tell that these people were experts. They all chose the hardest level to play and most of them were ridiculously good at it. This whole process was so interesting to observe because every action that a person had to perform was dictated by this machine. There wasn't a set of rules to follow (e.g. no stepping off the machine or out of bounds, placement of feet in certain areas, etc.), but instead people chose to play this game how they wanted to -they could hold onto the handlebars behind them or just stand freely without support- and they either got the point from stepping on the arrow at the right time or they didn't. It was pretty simple.
From the time that I was at the union for an hour and a half, there was only 4 people that got up to play the game. Most of the time that the group was there was actually spent talking amongst themselves and hanging out on the couches around the DDR machine. That's when I realized that this game was something that brought these people together. Sutton-Smith says "The rhetorics of identity focus on the use of play forms as forms of bonding, including the exhibition and validation or parody of membership and traditions in a community." (p.91) These people spent their time sitting around this technology even though they didn't spend most of their time playing it. But this "play" was something that, not only gave them a sense of belonging, but it also allowed them to gather and spend time together as a community.