The Formation of Identity in Electrate Gamer Culture Part 2: Run This Raid, Or What Games Do For Us

This is the second part of an ongoing project for English 671: Digital Rhetoric on the formation of identity in electrate gaming culture. This part of the project is comprised of a 04:22 minute remix video and a companion paper which discusses what video games do for us and why they are such a vital space for identity experimentation and formation.

Run This Raid: Or, What Games Do For Us from Erin Griesser on Vimeo.

Abstract:

          Video gaming is a vital part of modern digital culture because of the space it provides for identity experimentation and manipulation as well as its inclusiveness and participatory nature. It is a semiotic domain, as explained by James Paul Gee, which allows for active and critical learning in a number of areas which provide fuel for the development of skills and abilities which are applicable not only to gaming but to real life situations as well. Through interaction with their game characters and the symbols and archetypes of humanity present in both game and character, players can influence and consciously alter their “real” selves through active and critical learning and engagement with the game. In gamer culture, game and real life identities frequently bleed into each other until, for the experienced gamer, gaming pervades the ‘real life’ mindset and becomes more than a hobby but a way of life which is beneficial. Games are so attractive to us as humans because they represent simplified emotional realities which resonate with us. Games need not accurately represent reality; in fact, accurate portrayals of current life would be detrimental to a game’s success. Games rely on using emotional resonance to support players’ fantasies which makes the game psychologically real. These fantasies are why gamers play and they are a critical aspect of the gamer identity. The interactive environment of gaming allows for critical learning and active engagement in the creation and fulfillment of fantasies through interaction with the symbols and archetypes of human existence – interaction which results in identity modification.

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