Game studies has been an understudied area within the emerging field of digital media and religion. Video games can reflect, reject, or reconfigure traditionally held religious ideas and often serve as sources for the production of religious practices and ideas. This collection of essays presents a broad range of influential methodological approaches that illuminate how and why video games shape the construction of religious beliefs and practices, and also situates such research within the wider discourse on how digital media intersect with the religious worlds of the 21st century. Each chapter discusses a particular method and its theoretical background, summarizes existing research, and provides a practical case study that demonstrates how the method specifically contributes to the wider study of video games and religion. Featuring contributions from leading and emerging scholars of religion and digital gaming, this book will be an invaluable resource for scholars in the areas of digital culture, new media, religious studies, and game studies across a wide range of disciplines.
Introduction; Level up: Methods for studying video games and religion, Xenia Zeiler; Part 1: Textual and audiovisual narratives; 1 Critical discourse analysis: Studying religion and hegemony in video games, Kathrin Trattner; 2 Gaming elicitation in episodic interviews: Let’s play baptism, Kerstin Radde-Antweiler; Part 2: In-game performance; 3 An ethnographic method for the study of religion in video game environments, Gregory Price Grieve; 4 Surreal impersonation, William Sims Bainbridge; Part 3: Production and design, 5 Design-based research: Mobile gaming for learning Jewish history, tikkun olam, and civics, Owen Gottlieb; 6 Phenomenological hermeneutics as a bridge between video games and religio-aesthetics, Mikhail Fiadotau; Part 4: Interactivity and rule system; 7 Empirical triangulation: Applying multiple methods to explore religion and myth through video games, Enrico Gandolfi; 8 Petri net modeling: Analyzing rule-based representations of religion in video games, Vít Šisler; 9 Qualitative in-depth interviews: Studying religious meaning-making in MMOs, Stef Aupers, Julian Schaap and Lars de Wildt; Part 5: Gamer-generated content; 10 Normalized social distance: Quantitative analysis of religion-centered gaming pages on social networks, Josef Šlerka and Vít Šisler; 11 Coding comments on gaming videos: YouTube Let’s Plays, Asian games, and Buddhist and Hindu religions, Xenia Zeiler; Critical reflection; 12 How to study religion and video gaming: A critical discussion, Kerstin Radde-Antweiler