Play helps define who we are as human beings. However, many of the leisurely/ludic activities people participate in are created and governed by corporate entities with social, political, and business agendas. As such, it is critical that scholars understand and explicate the ideological underpinnings of played-through experiences and how they affect the player/performers who engage in them.
This book explores how people play and why their play matters, with a particular interest in how ludic experiences are often constructed and controlled by the interests of institutions, including corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, religious organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each chapter explores diverse sites of play. From theme parks to comic conventions to massively-multiplayer online games, they probe what roles the designers of these experiences construct for players, and how such play might affect participants' identities and ideologies. Scholars of performance studies, leisure studies, media studies and sociology will find this book an essential reference when studying facets of play.
1. Introduction: Play Matters Matt Omasta & Drew Chappell 2. Warriors, Wizards, and Clerics: Heroric Identify Construction in Live Action Role Playing Games Dani Snyder-Young 3. Homo Ludens and the Sharks: Structuring Alternative Realities while Shark Cage Diving in South Africa Michael Schwartz 4. Playfully Empowering: Stunt Runners and Momentary Performance Terry Brino-Dean 5. The Future of Family Play at Epcot John Newman 6. Mormons Think They Should Dance Megan Sanborn Jones 7. All the Dungeon's a Stage: The Lived Experiences of Commercial BDSM Players Danielle Szlawieniec-Haw 8. Cheering is Tied to Eating: Consumption and Excess in Immersive, Role-Specific Dinner Theatre Spaces Drew Chappell 9. Becoming Batman: Cosplay, Performance, and Ludic Transformation at Comic-Con Kane Anderson 10. Plaza Indonesia: Performing Modernity in a Shopping Mall Jennifer Goodlander 11. Britpicking as Cultural Policing in Fanfiction Erin Horáková 12. Dramatic Manipulations: Conflict, Empathy, and Identity in World of Warcraft Kimi Johnson 13. Afterword: Who are You? Matt Omasta & Drew Chappell