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The chorus of the dead: roles, identity formation, and ritual processes inside a FPS multiplayer online game

 

This chapter explores patterns of social interaction in an as-yet understudied online computer game genre: first-person shooters (FPS). Based on a four-month virtual ethnography conducted among the members of an active Counter-Strike “clan”, I examine how roles, status and power are created, negotiated and maintained by the players. In particular, I analyze the innovative communication practices allowed by the game’s reification of Goffman’s dramaturgical view of social life, which allows for a flexible definition and reinterpretation of a player’s role. I then describe how players are socialized over time into a particular gaming community. I highlight the central role of humor in creating in-groups and out-groups among the gamers, and finally illustrate how the transition from one social class to another is heavily influenced by one’s mastery of the community’s rules of interactions.

 
citation

Ducheneaut, N. The chorus of the dead: roles, identity formation, and ritual processes inside a FPS multiplayer online game. Chapter in Utopic Dreams and Apocalyptic Fantasies: Critical Approaches to Researching Video Game Play, edited by J. Talmadge Wright, David G. Embrick and Andras Lukacs. Lexington Books; 2010.