Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Virtual Edgework: Negotiating Risk in Role-Playing Gaming [peer-reviewed article]

Shay, H. (2017). Virtual Edgework: Negotiating Risk in Role-Playing Gaming. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 46(2), 203-229.
Can we consider playing role-playing games like an edgework activitie (ie. a voluntary risk-taking activity that can put yourself in danger like base jumping) ? It seems RPG players are engaged in a safe/virtual edgework where they experience freedom, mastery, control and excitement without danger. Examples: clearly delimitating emotions of game and emotions of real life, pushing the limits of lack of sleep, feeling compression of time in game, pseudo-controling the dice roll results, keeping the experience in the community and not trying to explain to non-gamers.
In the observed players, RPGs were "better than their real lives, that it served as an escape from feelings of boredom, anxiety, and powerlessness." RPGs have the potential to help imagine and push to work for a better world, but they also can stay a "therapeutic relief that inclines gamers to tolerate political marginalization, crave physical safety at all times, and accept a brave new world of state surveillance" (p.225).

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