The Similar Eye: Proxy Life and Public Space in the MMORPG

Oliver Julian Holland
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

Despite offering themselves as universes vastly alternative to our own, the majority of 3D Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games work to a strict profi le of reward systems which serve to group players and places around sets of action types. In contradiction to the promised inexhaustibility of a "VR," today's MMORPGs are designed and held together by amplified constructions of passage rights, role archetypes, resource management and the threat of death. Yet MMORPGs are by far the preferred "virtual" experience today. Statistics are revealing ongoing and consistent growth in MMORPG gaming. We are seeing MMORPGs succeed as busy cultural landscapes within a network infrastructure originally designed to support transfer of scientific papers, a framework often criticized for being too pointillistic in nature to support the complex needs of human interaction (let alone “public space”). Generations of scholars and artists have dedicated plenty of thought to what constitutes public space, so just what makes us believe that some game developers can even come close to manifesting it in a virtual setting? This paper illustrates how and why we must begin to think of the MMORPG as a public space. More importantly it provides tools for thinking how this rich platform for human interaction is actually produced.


Textuality in video games

Carr Diane Burn Andrew Schott Gareth Buckingham David
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

In this article the participants report on a two year research project titled Textuality and Videogames; Interactivity, Narrative Space and Role Play that ran from September 2001, until late 2003 at the Institute of Education, University of London. After presenting an overview of the project, including the methodologies we have adopted, and the questions we have sought to address, we outline two sample case studies, one that relates to player agency, the other that considers role-play, social semiotics and sign making in an MMORPG.


On the Edge of Reality: Reality Fiction in ‘Sanningen om Marika’

Waern Annika Denward Marie
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

The Alternate Reality Game genre inspires a mode of play in which the participants choose to act as if the game world was real. Jane McGonigal has argued that one of the most attractive features of an ARG is the ‘Pinnochio’ effect: at the same time that the players deeply long to believe in them, it is in reality impossible to believe in them for real. In this article, we study “Sanningen om Marika”, a game production where fact and fiction was blurred in a way that made some participants believe that the production was reality rather than fiction, whereas other participants found the production deeply engaging. We discuss the different participant interpretations of the production and how it affected the players´ mode of engagement. We also outline some of the design choices that caused the effect.


Play it for Real: Sustained Seamless Life/Game Merger in Momentum

Stenros Jaakko Montola Markus Waern Annika Jonsson Staffan
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

In this paper we describe a high-end pervasive larp Momentum that sought to create a seamless merger of life and game for the game duration of five weeks. During the five weeks the players could be able to play an immersive game set in our ordinary reality augmented with game content, both through narrative content and through game artifacts. The central challenges of the long duration was merging the game and life in a functional manner, game mastering the game for extended periods, and pacing and structuring the game in a working way. This paper looks into the lessons of Momentum; problems, solutions and other evaluation results.


“I’m in love with someone that doesn’t exist!!” Bleed in the context of a Computer Game

Waern Annika
2010 DiGRA Nordic '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International DiGRA Nordic Conference: Experiencing Games: Games, Play, and Players

It is not unusual for computer games to include romance, but most games treat romance as a narrative theme rather than as an integrated part of gameplay. In this article I investigate the gameplay experience in the game Dragon Age, a single-player game that allows players to actively engage in romance. Based on an investigation of blog and community comments, we argue that this sometimes will create an experience that is similar to the “bleed” effect in non-computerised role-play, and that the player to some extent shares emotions with his or her character.