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Playing with Virtuality

Theories and Methods of Computer Game Studies

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Edited By Benjamin Bigl and Sebastian Stoppe

Computer games have fascinated millions of users for more than 30 years. Today, they constitute the strongest sector in the media-entertainment industry and are part of the experience of digital daily life. Computer Game Studies require a deep understanding of functional and communicational mechanisms of games that support the player’s immersion in virtual worlds. Unfortunately, the discussion and the academic research about usage and effects of computer games mostly takes place isolated within different scientific contexts with various theoretical and methodological approaches. Therefore, this anthology combines the perspectives of Media Studies, Game Studies, and Communication Studies, and presents their findings in an interdisciplinary approach.

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CHAPTER 4: GAMES AND IDENTITY

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254 254 255 PASCALINE LORENTZ Video-ludological socialization Introduction Video gamers are now hugely represented amongst individuals (ISFE, 2010; ESA, 2011; Brand, 2012) and their number is still growing (Juul, 2010) depending on the generational effect (Crawford, 2011; Brand, 2012). According to social concerns, research on video gaming has to face with the questioning of the utility of this activity. In many books, ar- ticles, conferences, we can read, hear, notice that gaming is helping the socialization process, that games are socializing tools and that this is the very reason why video games could be “good” for individuals (Green- field, 1994; Taylor, 2002). But what is that socialization? What does this specific socialization contribute to the overall understanding of the evo- lution of individuals in our societies? In one word: What is video- ludological socialization? The concept of socialization is widely used by many disciplines such as Sociology, Social Psychology, Communication Science, Media Studies, Game Studies and Educational Studies, etc. Socialization, which is the social process that makes a subject become a social being (Süss, 2006), is a key concept for understanding society and its functioning. That is why we scrutinize video-ludological socialization in this chapter. In order to cast light on benefits of this specific socialization, no game is better than one simulating life which is also very popular: The Sims. For our doctoral research we overlooked the practices of teenagers gam- ing and how they utilize the gameplay to experiment social behaviors. In this chapter, we propose to...

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