The art of Neighbours gaming : Facebook, fan-crafted games and humour

DELLER, Ruth (2014). The art of Neighbours gaming : Facebook, fan-crafted games and humour. Intensities : The Journal of Cult Media, 7, 97-106.

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Australian soap opera Neighbours (1985-present) has a history of attracting a 'cult' following who often enjoy the programme partly because they feel able to 'laugh at' it - often including teenagers, students and young adults (Wober and Fazal 1994: 85; Williams 2010). In that spirit, Facebook group, 'The Art of Neighbours' (AoN) was launched in 2007 (see Bury et al 2013). Members submit 'artwork' dedicated to the show - however, unlike the more 'serious' fan art of other communities (see Bacon-Smith, 1992; Jenkins, 1992), AoN's tribute is deliberately low-tech and humorous: 'We have decided to represent our love for it through the refined medium of MS Paint. If you want to have a go at creating a beautiful tribute to your favourite character, then you can submit it to our gallery for all to see and worship.' (Art of Neighbours 'About' page). Images submitted are usually satirical, although the group points out 'We freakin' love Neighbours and all the actors and would hate to think this is how we ACTUALLY see them. SO, everything in here is made in jest'. The humorous artwork frequently extends to crafting and gaming, with a yearly 'Secret Santa' and occasional meets during which members have created Neighbours-themed board games (including Connect 4, Cluedo and Top Trumps), often using 'art' created in the group, or group in-jokes about the characters. In this paper I explore the ways board game creation has been appropriated as a method of fan creativity, humour, gifting and interaction (including the gifting of games to actors in the show) - and the way Neighbours producers use social media to encourage the playfulness. The AoN group operates in this way as a site of fannish 'play' (Hoge, 2011) allowing people to express fandom in a way that is deemed 'appropriate' for the 'non-serious' fan object.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
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Depositing User: Ruth Deller
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2014 12:17
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 13:17

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