Immersive Gameplay

Essays on Participatory Media and Role-Playing


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About the Book

This collection of all-new essays approaches the topic of immersion as a product of social and media relations. Examining the premises and aesthetics of live-action and tabletop role-playing games, reality television, social media apps and first-person shooters, the essays take both game rules and the media discourse that games produce as serious objects of study.
Scholars of social psychology, sociology, role-playing theory, game studies, and television studies all examine games and game-like environments like reality shows as interdependent sites of social friction and power negotiation. The ten essays articulate the importance of game rules in analyses of media products, and demonstrate methods that allow game rules to be seen in action during the process of play.

About the Author(s)

Evan Torner is assistant professor of German studies at the University of Cincinnati, where he also serves as undergraduate director of German studies and the director of the UC game lab. He is co-founder and an editor of the journal Analog Game Studies. His fields of expertise include East German genre cinema, German film history, critical race theory, science fiction, role-playing game studies, Nordic larp, cultural criticism, electronic music and second-language pedagogy.
William J. White, an associate professor of communication arts & sciences at Penn State Altoona, teaches speech and mass media courses. His research interests include communication theory, the rhetoric of science, science fiction and games as participatory culture. He lives in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Evan Torner and William J. White
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6834-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9237-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Foreword by Zach Waggoner      1


Evan Torner and William J. White      3


First Person Audience and the Art of Painful Role-Playing

Markus Montola and Jussi Holopainen      13

Jungian Theory and Immersion in Role-Playing Games

Sarah Lynne Bowman      31

Circles and Frames: The Games Social Scientists Play

Nathan Hook      52


Role-Playing Communities, Cultures of Play and the Discourse of Immersion

William J. White, J. Tuomas Harviainen and Emily Care Boss      71

Gary Alan Fine Revisited: RPG Research in the 21st Century

Katherine Castiello Jones      87

The Agentic Imagination: Tabletop Role-Playing Games as a Cultural Tool

Todd Nicholas Fuist      108


Kid Nation: Television, Systemic Violence and Game Design

Evan Torner      127

Survivor Meets the Hero’s Journey: Connecting Mythic Structures to Reality Television

Erik Dulick      147

A Game About Killing: Role-Playing in the Liminal Spaces of Social Network Games

Eric Newsom      168

Deleting Memory Space: The Gaming of History and the Absence of the Holocaust

M.-Niclas Heckner      184

Works Cited      201

About the Contributors      215

Index      217