Black Boxes and Co-Creation in LittleBigPlanet 2

Dave Jones


This  paper discusses black boxes and their role as mediators in the user experience of co-creative networks. Using Actor Network Theory, I trace the people, groups, and technologies that assemble around the moderation of player-generated content in Media Molecules LittleBigPlanet 2. More specifically, I examine the Good Grief! Systems role in mediating the moderation process between player-creators and moderators. This system frames moderation as a participatory practice initiated by people playing levels. However the system also establishes a black box around the processes of assessing and moderating reported levels. This makes the moderation process opaque to the player-creator community, locking them away from the moderation process and disempowering them as creative agents. Co-creative networks enable participation, but use black boxes to structure the participatory activities that player-creators pursue. As a result, much of the coordinative and collaborative work of network participants centers upon the black box, what it renders invisible, and how to test its boundaries.


co-creation; participatory culture; games; black boxes; actor network theory

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