I’ve always been impressed by the way Henry Jenkins makes connections between computer games and broader issues of children’s culture, I find this infinitely preferable to the psychological studies which treat children’s media use as a purely individual matter — (psychological studies of children and the “effects” of violence in the media etc tend to do this).
Jenkins points out that children’s culture, (by which he means “popular culture produced for, by, and/or about children”)is not something innocent and thus separate from politics, economics, morality etc. Yes, it is “kid’s stuff” but it’s also an ideological “battleground” where we play out our adult fantasies about the future.
Here’s an article from him about boy culture and computer games which I found particularly useful. This and the MySpace interview I linked to earlier both suggest that new social circumstances in fact allow more parental surveillance now, and that this is the cause of at least some of the current rash of parental anxieties and panics. (The site has lots of other links to his articles and chapters on this theme).
Cultural borrowing in World of Warcraft
Everything they say in this article about the fake Jamaican accents of the WoW trolls is true.I spent some time playing a troll and have usually joined troll guilds on a role-playing server. It is interesting that most players with troll characters mimic the Jamaican accents of the non-player characters.
The article mentions the borrowings from Native American culture, but they don’t mention that the pseudo-savannah landscapes of the Barrens were clearly modelled on an African theme. I played when I lived in London, and I spent a lot of time hanging out in the Barrens because I missed South Africa and could get some virtual sunshine out in the savannah while waiting for the fun PvP Alliance raids on Crossroads. The Barrens was like the Kruger Park, with lions, gazelle, zebra, giraffes and ostrichy things all over the place. (Except of course that you were supposed to slaughter the animals. And except of course for the orcs, elves, undead, centaurs and purple raptors charging around all over the place.) The high rate of “gankings” was also appropriate.
A collection of academic readings about race in games This topic is really neglected and begs for some South African research.
Bow Nigger A brilliant piece, often cited as one of the original examples of “New Games Journalism”.
Gamasutra’s report on the Girls ‘n Games conference Note to self: This conference sounds like a good one to bookmark.
And, to continue the theme I started with my post about spam p0rn, here’s an article about sex in vdeogames apparently a rapidly growing area of the industry.