Looking for new reading material? A new book is out examining WoW, and is available from Amazon for the nice price of $19.77 (not bad for a book coming from an academic press!). I'm personally really fond of edited volumes, and this one sounds pretty interesting — both in the contents and background of the research. Scott Rettberg, one of the contributors, explains:
Hilde G. Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg ... edited this volume, which is the first book-length anthology to carefully read the culture of the world's most popular massively multiplayer online game. The anthology is the product of a unique collaboration. The volume's contributors all played the game together for a year in a guild of academics known as "The Truants" before writing their chapters, each of which examines the game from a different theoretical/analytical bent. There are thirteen chapters in the book.
According to the publishing blurb, they're cutting a pretty wide swath here:
The contributors examine the ways that gameworlds reflect the real world—exploring such topics as World of Warcraft as a "capitalist fairytale" and the game's construction of gender; the cohesiveness of the gameworld in terms of geography, mythology, narrative, and the treatment of death as a temporary state; aspects of play, including "deviant strategies" perhaps not in line with the intentions of the designers; and character—both players' identification with their characters and the game's culture of naming characters. The varied perspectives of the contributors—who come from such fields as game studies, textual analysis, gender studies, and postcolonial studies—reflect the breadth and vitality of current interest in MMOGs
I'm currently up to my neck in reading on Japanese imperialism, but this is definitely on my list of to-dos this summer.
Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader [GrandTextAuto]