There is little question of the social, cultural and economic importance of video games in the world today, with gaming now rivalling the movie and music sectors as a major leisure industry and pastime. The significance of video games within our everyday lives has certainly been increased and shaped by new technologies and gaming patterns, including the rise of home-based games consoles, advances in mobile telephone technology, the rise in more 'sociable' forms of gaming, and of course the advent of the Internet.
This book explores the opportunities, challenges and patterns of gameplay and sociality afforded by the Internet and online gaming. Bringing together a series of original essays from both leading and emerging academics in the field of game studies, many of which employ new empirical work and innovative theoretical approaches to gaming, this book considers key issues crucial to our understanding of online gaming and associated social relations, including: patterns of play, legal and copyright issues, player production, identity construction, gamer communities, communication, patterns of social exclusion and inclusion around religion, gender and disability, and future directions in online gaming.
Part I: Introduction 1. The Social and Cultural Significance of Online Gaming by Garry Crawford, Victoria K. Gosling and Ben Light Part II: Production and Play 2. Player Production and Innovation in Online Games: Time for New Rules? by Aphra Kerr 3. Conflict, Thought Communities and Textual Appropriation in MMORPGs by Esther MacCallum-Stewart 4. Thrift Players in a Twisted Game World? A Study of Private Online Game Servers by Holin Lin and Chuen-Tsai Sun 5. The Only (End)Game in Town: Designing for Retention in 'World of Warcraft' by Douglas Brown 6. The Boardgame Online: Simulating the Experience of Physical Games by Neil Randall 7. Games in the Mobile Internet: Understanding Contextual Play in Flickr and Facebook by Frans Mäyrä 8. The Whereabouts of Play, or How the Magic Circle Helps Create Social Identities in Virtual Worlds by Thiago Falcão and José Carlos Ribeiro 9. Framing the Game: Four Game-related Approaches to Goffman's Frames by René Glas, Kristine Jørgensen, Torill Mortensen and Luca Rossi Part III: Communities and Communication 10. Identity-as-Place: The Construction of Game Refugees and Fictive Ethnicities by Celia Pearce and Artemesia 11. The Rise and Fall of 'Cardboard Tube Samurai': Kenneth Burke Identifying with the 'World of Warcraft' by Chrisopher A. Paul and Jeffrey Philpott 12. Analyzing Player Communication in Multi-player Games by Anders Drachen 13. Recallin' Fagin: Linguistic Accents, Intertextuality and Othering in Narrative Offline and Online Video Games by Astrid Ensslin 14. 'Second Life' as a Digitally Mediated Third Place: Social Capital in Virtual World Communities by Fern M. Delamere 15. Representations of Race and Gender within the Gamespace of the MMO 'Everquest' by Keith Massie 16. 'Wordslinger': Visualizing Physical Abuse in a Virtual Environment by Kate E. Taylor Part IV: Conclusion 17. It's Not Just a Game: Contemporary Challenges for Games Research and the Internet by Garry Crawford, Ben Light and Victoria Gosling