Role-playing games offer a chance to pretend, make believe, and share fantasy. They often invoke heavy themes into their game play: morality, violence, politics, spirituality, or sexuality. Although interesting moral debates perennially appear in the media and academia concerning the appropriateness of games’ ability to deal with such adult concepts, very little is known about the intersection between games, playfulness, and sexuality and what this might mean for players. This book offers an in-depth, ethnographic look into the phenomenon of erotic role-play through the experiences of players in multiplayer and tabletop role-playing games. Brown explores why participants engage in erotic role-play; discusses the rules involved in erotic role-play; and uncovers what playing with sexuality in ludic environments means for players, their partners, and their everyday lives. Taken together, this book provides a rich, nuanced, and detailed account of a provocative topic.
Games allow players to experiment and play with subject positions, values and moral choice. In game worlds players can take on the role of antagonists; they allow us to play with behaviour that would be offensive, illegal or immoral if it happened outside of the game sphere. While contemporary games have always handled certain problematic topics, such as war, disasters, human decay, post-apocalyptic futures, cruelty and betrayal, lately even the most playful of genres are introducing situations in which players are presented with difficult ethical and moral dilemmas. This volume is an investigation of "dark play" in video games, or game play with controversial themes as well as controversial play behaviour. It covers such questions as: Why do some games stir up political controversies? How do games invite, or even push players towards dark play through their design? Where are the boundaries for what can be presented in a games? Are these boundaries different from other media such as film and books, and if so why? What is the allure of dark play and why do players engage in these practices?
This handbook collects, for the first time, the state of research on role-playing games (RPGs) across disciplines, cultures, and media in a single, accessible volume. Collaboratively authored by more than 50 key scholars, it traces the history of RPGs, from wargaming precursors to tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons to the rise of live action role-play and contemporary computer RPG and massively multiplayer online RPG franchises, like Fallout and World of Warcraft. Individual chapters survey the perspectives, concepts, and findings on RPGs from key disciplines, like performance studies, sociology, psychology, education, economics, game design, literary studies, and more. Other chapters integrate insights from RPG studies around broadly significant topics, like transmedia worldbuilding, immersion, transgressive play, or player–character relations. Each chapter includes definitions of key terms and recommended readings to help fans, students, and scholars new to RPG studies find their way into this new interdisciplinary field.