cover image Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture

Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture

T. L. Taylor. MIT Press (MA), $31.95 (197pp) ISBN 978-0-262-20163-6

Refuting the idea that playing video games is an act of isolation undertaken by teenaged boys in dark basement rooms, Taylor presents the world of online gaming as a thriving social scene where players create friendships that transcend the digital domain. In playing EverQuest, (an MMOG, or massively multiplayer online game), Taylor travels through the digital fantasyland, slays other players, builds up her character's inventory and skills and, most importantly, shows how playing creates a huge network of people, many of whom take an almost job-like approach to gaming. She even meets up with fellow gamers and notes how ""Recounting fights is a common topic of conversation among players."" Also insightful are her thoughts on women and gaming, an underreported topic to which she dedicates a chapter. Taylor is, however, an academic, and tends to make simple concepts overcomplicated. So, sentences like: ""There is no culture, there is no game, without the labor of the players. Whether designers want to acknowledge it fully or not, MMOGs already are participatory spaces (if only partially realized) by their very nature as social and cultural spaces"" are far from uncommon. Save the moments of impenetrable jargon, Taylor's immersion into the online gaming world is a fascinating one that proves video games aren't just for the geeky neighbor kid anymore.