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Gaming as Culture: Essays on Reality, Identity and Experience in Fantasy Games

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Gaming as Culture: Essays on Reality, Identity and Experience in Fantasy Games

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Perhaps the fastest growing facet of American popular culture, the video game industry is Hollywood’s premier rival in the entertainment business. But stacks of new releases for gaming enthusiasts mean more than just boom season for a burgeoning industry. Since tabletop fantasy role-playing games emerged in the 1970s, fantasy gaming has made a unique contribution to popular culture and perceptions of social realities in America. This book presents the most current research in fantasy games and examines the cultural and constructionist dimensions of fantasy gaming as a leisure activity. Each chapter investigates some social or behavioural aspect of fantasy gaming and provides insight into the cultural, linguistic, sociological, and psychological impact of games on both the individual and society. Section I discusses the intersection of fantasy and real-world scenarios and how the construction of a fantasy world is dialectically related to the construction of a gamer’s social reality. Because the basic premise of fantasy gaming is the assumption of virtual identities, Section II looks at the relationship between gaming and various aspects of identity. The third and final section examines what the personal experiences of gamers can tell us about how humans experience reality. These concluding studies assess the pedagogical value of fantasy games in terms of both formal education and social morality.

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