This study takes an analytical approach to the world of role-playing games, providing a theoretical framework for understanding their psychological and sociological functions. Sometimes dismissed as escapist and potentially dangerous, role-playing actually encourages creativity, self-awareness, group cohesion and “out-of-the-box” thinking. The book also offers a detailed participant-observer ethnography on role-playing games, featuring insightful interviews with 19 participants of table-top, live action and virtual games.
This volume explores these three concepts with regard to the various forms of role-playing. The study then offers a detailed, participant-observer ethnography involving extensive, qualitative interviews with nineteen respondents. I conclude that the benefits offered by role-playing in more traditional environments are also offered through the leisure activity of role-playing games. Though mainstream American media channels often dismisses involvement in role-playing games as escapist and potentially dangerous, this volume posits the notion that role-playing encourages creativity, self-awareness, empathy, group cohesion, and "out-of-the-box" thinking. The role-playing game platform facilitates the development of various cognitive and social skills that remain useful in the "real world." Thus, participation in role-playing games should incur a lesser amount of stigma from the larger culture."--Pages vi-vii.
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.
Through classroom activities, wizard rock concerts, and organizations like the Harry Potter Alliance, Harry Potter fans are using creativity to positively impact the world. This collection of essays and interviews examines how playful fandom--from fanfiction to Muggle quidditch, cosplay, role-playing games, and even Harry Potter burlesque--not only reimagines the canon but also challenges consumerism, questions notions of identity, and fosters participatory culture. The contributors explore issues applicable to fan studies and performance studies at large, such as the role of performance, the nature of community, and questions of representation and ownership in the digital age. Presented in three parts, the essays discuss discrepancies between sanctioned versions of Harry Potter and fan creations, the reenactment and reinterpretation of the original narrative in fan performance, and collaborative and participatory performances that break down the boundaries between actors and audiences.
Since the release of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974, role-playing games (RPGs) have spawned a vibrant industry and subculture whose origins, characteristics, cultures and player experiences have been well explored. Yet there has been little attention devoted to the meaningful ways RPGs have shaped society at large over the last four decades. RPGs were influential on video game design and have been widely represented in film, television and other media. They have made their mark on other areas of society, as well, including education, social media, corporate training and the military. This collection of new essays illustrates the broad appeal and impact of RPGs. Topics range from a critical reexamination of the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, to the growing significance of RPGs in education, to the potential for "serious" RPGs to provoke awareness and social change. The contributors discuss the myriad subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways in which the values, concepts and mechanics of RPGs have infiltrated popular culture.
What is evil? How do we understand it in our culture? The thirteen essays in this critical volume explore the different ways in which evil is portrayed in popular culture, particularly film and novels. Iconic figures of evil are considered, as is the repeated use of classic themes within our intellectual tradition. Topics covered include serial killers in film, the Twilight series, the Harry Potter series, Star Wars, and more. Collectively, these essays suggest how vital the notion of evil is to our culture, which in turn suggest a need to reflect on what it means to value what is good.
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