Sunday, February 12, 2012

A trip to FanFaire

Dear Taylor,

At first, I was a bit bored by the reading – it seemed like a story about a trip to a “real-life” version of a computer virtual reality game where a bunch of computer geeks meet together to discuss fantasy strategies that don’t apply to real life. In all honestly, I thought of it as borderline pathetic.  I was surprised to learn that at this FanFaire for the game Everquest, held in a Boston hotel, the turnout was much more varied than I had originally expected.  As you describe, it was not a group of isolated male teen shut-ins, but also included men, women, couples, and various races and age groups. I was also shocked to learn that the so-called social aspect of the game was not, as you said, an “add-on”, but a crucial component to the success of the game.  As you explained “Social connections, collective knowledge, and group action are central to the individuals experience… Shared action becomes a basis for social interaction, which in turn shapes the play”.  I was also intrigued by your approach to this study. Instead of just observing the players of the game, and playing it yourself, you looked beyond the game itself into the idea of these virtual reality games as social structures. The interweaving of “spheres” between online virtual reality and offline reality is a concept that I had not even fathomed prior to this reading. 

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