‘What sort of Fish was it?’ How Players Understand their Narrative in Online Games.

Conference paper


MacCallum-Stewart, Esther 2009. ‘What sort of Fish was it?’ How Players Understand their Narrative in Online Games. How Players Understand their Narrative in Online Games.’ Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games. Play Practice and Theory
AuthorsMacCallum-Stewart, Esther
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Online worlds have become a fundamental element of the
virtual landscape. The development of MMORPGs has
helped give credence to the idea that online spaces can
support valid social communities. Having proved that these
communities exist, scholars must now decide whether these
communities are different to those in the 'real' world.
What makes gaming communities stand out? This paper
looks at how players contextualise their behaviour within
game narratives. In particular, the ways that players
manipulate the divergent narratives of each game, and the
paradoxes that these structures create is investigated.
MMORPGs are rife with social tension. Players appear to
use a series of different social codes when they justify their
behaviour, borrowing from different rules sets dictated by
circumstances in the game according to their need. To
contextualise this, this paper examines how players express
and argue their ideas through their understanding of the
game world and narrative. Like fan communities , players
appropriate the MMORPG text for themselves, reinscribing
it according to their own conceptions. However, whereas
fans must do this away from their key source, in
MMORPGs, players discuss the text as they enact it.
Narratives are deliberately dynamic – purporting to give
players agency to move at their own pace or to chose the
routes and standpoints they take throughout each game.
Thus fans actively work upon the text in a much broader
context, and their discussions are often visible to large
amounts of people within the game. If all players consider
themselves as fans, then how does this affect the perception
of the text itself?

KeywordsMMORPG; online games; narrative; fans; textual poaching; virtual worlds; social communities
Year2009
ConferenceHow Players Understand their Narrative in Online Games.’ Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-ND
Publication dates
Print2009
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Apr 2010
Web address (URL)http://www.digra.org/dl/db/09287.55488.pdf
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/729
Additional information

Citation:
MacCallum-Stewart, E. (2007) ‘‘What sort of Fish was it?’ How Players Understand their Narrative in Online Games.’ Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory, Proceedings of DiGRA 2009, London: Brunel University, September, 2009.

Place of publicationPractice and Theory
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/8645x

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