The primary aim of this paper is to look into the game related practices and significances of games. This perspective is applied to examining the pleasures derived from different games and to analyse the different strategies developed by children and their families to situate and control game playing. Research was conducted among 10–12-year-old children in Finland during spring and summer 2003. Sample of 284 survey questionnaires filled out by children and their parents provides an overview on the subject and the basis for 15 thematic interviews. It is hard to point towards any single element in games as the most powerfully engaging one, but the imaginary worlds provided by games seem to have an important role in offering children possibilities for experiencing things otherwise impossible. In terms of control, there does not seem to be any severe conflicts or serious troubles currently surrounding games in homes.
The actual content of games is an understudied area in social scientific research about digital interactive games (DIGs). This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of game content, in particular with respect to the portrayal of men, women, and people of different ethnic origin. Earlier studies by Provenzo , Gailey , and Dietz  concluded that games were dominated by stereotypic male characters with a few stereotypic females in minor roles. Nowadays, quite a few DIGs have women in leading parts. We want to establish if this change resulted in a multiplicity of meaning in the representation of gender and ethnicity . This paper reports a content analysis about the ways in which gender and ethnicity are represented in the game. We concentrate on the portrayal of the leading character, and supporting role in the introductory film of the DIG. Our sample consists of 12 games that run on ‘Next Generation Consoles’ (PS2, X Box, Game Cube). Among the titles studied are games with a female leading character (for example, Tomb Raider, Parasite Eve), and with a male leading character (for example, GTA ViceCity, Splinter Cell). Characters in supporting roles are diverse: colored, and non-colored men, as well as colored and non-colored women