Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations (Hardback) book cover

Role-Playing Game Studies

Transmedia Foundations

Edited by Sebastian Deterding, José Zagal

© 2018 – Routledge

484 pages

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Description

This handbook collects, for the first time, the state of research on role-playing games (RPGs) across disciplines, cultures, and media in a single, accessible volume. Collaboratively authored by more than 50 key scholars, it traces the history of RPGs, from wargaming precursors to tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons to the rise of live action role-play and contemporary computer RPG and massively multiplayer online RPG franchises, like Fallout and World of Warcraft. Individual chapters survey the perspectives, concepts, and findings on RPGs from key disciplines, like performance studies, sociology, psychology, education, economics, game design, literary studies, and more. Other chapters integrate insights from RPG studies around broadly significant topics, like transmedia worldbuilding, immersion, transgressive play, or player–character relations. Each chapter includes definitions of key terms and recommended readings to help fans, students, and scholars new to RPG studies find their way into this new interdisciplinary field.

Reviews

"An incredibly wide-ranging look at role-playing games from multiple angles, this book is set to become the authoritative work on the subject for years to come. If you’re looking to learn more about RPGs, whether as a player, researcher or designer, there’s something – many somethings! – in here for you." -Richard Bartle, MMO pioneer, co-creator of MUD, author of Designing Virtual Worlds

"The sheer, massive range of subjects that are covered in Role-Playing Game Studies makes it a must-have for any serious scholar in the field. Especially the interdisciplinary texts are worth diving into - since this is, at its heart, an interdisciplinary field." -Claus Raasted, CEO of Dziobak Larp Studios, Chairman of Rollespilsfabrikken, Co-founder of The College of Extraordinary Experiences

Table of Contents

1 The Many Faces of Role-Playing Game Studies

Sebastian Deterding and José P. Zagal

 

PART I: DEFINITIONS

2 Definitions of "Role-Playing Games"

José P. Zagal and Sebastian Deterding

 

PART II: FORMS

3 Precursors

Jon Peterson

4 Tabletop Role-Playing Games

William J. White, Jonne Arjoranta, Michael Hitchens, Jon Peterson, Evan Torner, and Jonathan Walton

5 Live-Action Role-Playing Games

J. Tuomas Harviainen, Rafael Bienia, Simon Brind, Michael Hitchens, Yarislau I. Kot, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, David W. Simkins, Jaakko Stenros, and Ian Sturrock

6 Single-Player Computer Role-Playing Games

Douglas Schules, Jon Peterson, and Martin Picard

7 Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games

Mark Chen, Riley Leary, Jon Peterson, and David W. Simkins

8 Online Freeform Role-Playing Games

Jessica Hammer

9 The Impact of Role-playing Games on Culture

Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Jaakko Stenros, and Staffan Björk

 

PART III: DISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES

10 RPG Theorizing by Designers and Players

Evan Torner

11 Performance Studies and Role-Playing Games

Sarah Hoover, David W. Simkins, Sebastian Deterding, David Meldman, and Amanda Brown

12 Sociology and Role-Playing Games

J. Patrick Williams, David Kirschner, Nicolas Mizer, and Sebastian Deterding

13 Psychology and Role-Playing Games

Sarah Lynne Bowman and Andreas Lieberoth

14 Literary Studies and Role-Playing Games

David Jara and Evan Torner

15 Learning and Role-Playing Games

Jessica Hammer, Alexandra To, Karen Schrier, Sarah Lynne Bowman, and Geoff Kaufman

16 Economics and Role-Playing Games

Isaac Knowles and Edward Castronova

17 Science and Technology Studies and Role-Playing Games

Rafael Bienia

18 Game Design and Role-Playing Games

Staffan Björk and José P. Zagal

19 Communication Research and Role-Playing Games

William J. White

 

PART IV: INTERDISCIPLINARY ISSUES

20 Worldbuilding in Role-Playing Games

Karen Schrier, Evan Torner, and Jessica Hammer

21 Role-Playing Games as Subculture and Fandom

Esther MacCallum-Stewart and Aaron Trammell

22 Immersion and Shared Imagination in Role-Playing Games

Sarah Lynne Bowman

23 Players and Their Characters in Role-Playing Games

Sarah Lynne Bowman and Karen Schrier

24 Transgressive Role-play

Jaakko Stenros and Sarah Lynne Bowman

25 Sexuality and the Erotic in Role-Play

Ashley ML Brown and Jaakko Stenros

26 Representation and Discrimination in Role-Playing Games

Aaron Trammell

27 Power and Control in Role-Playing Games

Jessica Hammer, Whitney Beltran, Jonathan Walton, and Moyra Turkington

About the Editors

Sebastian Deterding is a Reader at the Digital Creativity Labs at the University of York (York, UK). He has been an RPG player and designer for more than 20 years and has published ethnographic portraits of the German pen-and-paper RPG subculture. He is founder and organizer of the Gamification Research Network and co-editor of The Gameful World (MIT Press, 2015), a book about the ludification of culture. He holds a PhD in media studies from Hamburg University. See also: http://codingconduct.cc/.

José P. Zagal is an Associate Professor with the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering program. He wrote Ludoliteracy (2010) and edited The Videogame Ethics Reader (2012). In 2016, he was honored as a Distinguished Scholar by the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) for his contributions to the field of game research. He also serves as the Editor-In-Chief of DiGRA’s flagship journal Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association (ToDiGRA). He received his PhD in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. See also: http://www.eng.utah.edu/~zagal/.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
GAM010000
GAMES / Role Playing & Fantasy
GAM013000
GAMES / Video & Electronic
SOC052000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies