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Playing with Virtuality

Theories and Methods of Computer Game Studies

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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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Matthew Barr, M.Sc. | is a PhD researcher and research developer at the Humanities Advanced Technology & Information Institute, Universi- ty of Glasgow, Scotland. He teaches on, and co-ordinates, the MSc IT Multimedia Systems course and lectures on various video game-related topics. Matthew’s PhD research focuses on the relationship between vid- eo games and learning. Juan F. Belmonte, M.A. | is a research associate and PhD candidate at the University of Murcia, Spain. His dissertation explores the ways in which discourses about gender identity and sexuality are produced and reproduced in computer games. He was a Graduate Fulbright Scholar at Indiana University (2009-2011) and co-organizer of the 6th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games (Madrid, 2012). Rafael Bienia, M.A. | is a PhD candidate at the Department of Litera- ture and Arts at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. He is part of the project “Narrative Fan Practices”, funded by the national research coun- cil “Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek”. In his dissertation he approaches three types of role-playing games: Pen & Pa- per, MMORPG, and larp with actor-network theory. Beside research, Ra- fael teaches in the university’s Bachelor and Master Programs. He has studied Comparative Literature and English Studies at the Johannes- Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, Germany. Benjamin Bigl, M.A. | is a research assistant at the Institute for Com- munication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. His research currently focuses on the reception of computer games as well as topics related in the field of online communication. Benjamin has studied Communication...

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