Game Love

Essays on Play and Affection


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About the Book

What does love have to do with gaming? As games have grown in complexity, they have increasingly included narratives that seek to engage players with love in a variety of ways. While media attention often focuses on violent emotions and behavior in gaming, love has always been central to the experience. We love to play games, we have titles that we love, and sometimes we love too much or love terrible games for their shortcomings. Love in gaming is rather like love in life—often complicated and frustrating but also exciting and gratifying. This collection of fresh essays explores the meaning and role of love in gaming, describing a number of ways—from coding to cosplay—in which love can be expressed in, for and around games. Investigating how gaming involves love is also key to understanding the growing importance of games and gamers as cultural markers.

About the Author(s)

Jessica Enevold is an associate professor of cultural studies at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden.

Esther MacCallum-Stewart is an associate professor of games studies at Staffordshire University, UK. Her work examines the ways in which players understand narratives and the stories they tell and she has written widely on this subject.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jessica Enevold and Esther MacCallum-Stewart

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9693-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1878-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction (Jessica Enevold and Esther ­MacCallum-Stewart) 1

Section 1: Experiencing and Creating Love in Games
“I’m in love with someone that doesn’t exist!” Bleed in the Context of a Computer Game (Annika Waern) 25
Approaching the Digital Courting Process in Dragon Age 2 (Peter Kelly) 46
Love for Dice: Love, Sex, Romance and Reward in Tabletop ­Role-Playing Games (Ian Sturrock) 63
NPCs Need Love Too: Simulating Love and Romance, from a Game Design Perspective (Mitu ­Khandaker-Kokoris) 82

Section 2: Show It Like You Mean It: Expressions of Love Beyond the Gaming Text
Express Yourself: An Affective Analysis of Game Cosplayers (Nicolle Lamerichs) 97
“He is coming to the wedding”: Exploring Narratives of Love and Friendship Among Erotic ­Role-Players in World of Warcraft (Ashley Brown) 116
Princess Peach Loves Your Enemies, Too (Hanna Wirman) 131
Capitalizing on Emotions: Digital Pets and the Natural User Interface (Tom Apperley and Nicole Heber) 149

Section 3: What’s Love Got to Do with It? Alternative Representations of Love in Games
“I know your type, you are a player”: Suspended Fulfillment in Fallout: New Vegas (Olli Tapio Leino) 165
Game Love at Play in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 (Sara Mosberg Iversen) 179
Simulated Metaphors of Love: How The Marriage Applies Metaphors to Simulate a Love Relationship (Sebastian Möring) 196
Playing by Heart: A Taxonomy of the Heart in Videogames (Shira Chess) 216

Section 4: Bad Love
Game Addiction in a Framework of Love: A Ludophilic Investigation (Rune Kristian Lundedal Nielsen) 231
Bad Romance: For the Love of “Bad” Videogames (Emily ­Flynn-Jones) 253

About the Contributors 265
Index 269

Book Reviews & Awards

“For those interested in further pursuing the relationship between meaning and games, Game Love is recommended reading”—Sport in American History.