Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-10-01
  • Publisher: Lexington Books

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Few books have attempted to contextualize the importance of video game play with a critical social, cultural and political perspective that raises the question of the significance of work, pleasure, fantasy and play in the modern world. The study of why video game play is 'fun' has often been relegated to psychology, or the disciplines of cultural anthropology, literary and media studies, communications and other assorted humanistic and social science disciplines. In Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies, Talmadge Wright, David Embrick and Andras Lukacs invites us to move further and consider questions on appropriate methods of researching games, understanding the carnival quality of modern life, the role of marketing in altering game narratives, and the role of fantasy and desire in modern video game play. Embracing an approach that combines a cultural and/or critical studies approach with a sociological understanding of this new media moves the debate beyond simple media effects, moral panics, and industry boosterism to one of asking critical questions, what does modern video game play 'mean,' what questions should we be asking, and what can sociological research contribute to answering these questions. This collection includes works which use textual analysis, audience based research, symbolic interactionism, as well as political economic and psychoanalytic perspectives to illuminate areas of inquiry that preserves the pleasure of modern play while asking tough questions about what such pleasure means in a world divided by political, economic, cultural and social inequalities.

Author Biography

J. Talmadge Wright is associate professor of sociology at Loyola University, Chicago. David G. Embrick is assistant professor of sociology at Loyola University, Chicago. Andrs Lukcs is a PhD candidate in sociology at Loyola University, Chicago.

Table of Contents

List of Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Modern Play and Technology-Defining Digital Play
Play and Cultural Transformation-Or, What Would Huizinga Think of Video Games?p. 15
"Is He 'Avin a Laugh?": The Importance of Fun to Virtual Play Studiesp. 43
Capitalism, Contradiction, and the Carnivalesque: Alienated Labor vs. Ludic Playp. 59
Sneaking Mission: Late Imperial America and Metal Gear Solidp. 73
I Blog, Therefore I Am: Virtual Embodiment and the Selfp. 97
Marketing Culture and the Video Game Business
Marketing Computer Games: Reinforcing or Changing Stereotypes?p. 125
Censoring Violence in Virtual Dystopia: Issues in the Rating of Video Games in Japan and of Japanese Video Games Outside Japanp. 143
Coding Culture: Video Game Localization and the Practice of Mediating Cultural Differencep. 161
Researching Video Game Play
Beyond "Sheeping the Moon"-Methodological Considerations for Critical Studies of Virtual Realmsp. 187
The Chorus of the Dead: Roles, Identity Formation, and Ritual Processes Inside an FPS Multiplayer Online Gamep. 199
The Quantitative-Qualitative Antimony in Virtual World Studiesp. 223
Summary and Conclusions
Virtual Today, Reality Tomorrow: Taking Our Sociological Understanding of Virtual Gameplay to the Next Levelp. 247
Indexp. 255
About the Contributorsp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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