Abstracts 2011

Under the Mask Abstracts - 2011

  1. Steven Boyer (University of Glasgow) Converging on Bugs: Consumer/Producer Blurring in Game Testing
  2. Ashley Brown (University of Manchester) Lesbian Elves and Goblin Sex Machines: An analysis of erotic fan fiction and fan art in World of Warcraft
  3. Emily Collins (Goldsmiths, University of London) Are the cognitive benefits evident in video game players dependent on the absence of problematic video game use?
  4. Carl Fordah and Edmond Prakash (University of Bedfordshire) Driving Games & Their Influence On Real-World Drivers
  5. Amber E. George (State University of New York at Cortland) Paying to Play: Who Really Wins When Video Gaming Edges Into Pornography?
  6. Carolyn Jong (Concordia University, Montréal) The Let’s Play Archive: Collecting Players, Performing Play
  7. Ewan Kirkland (University of Brighton) Little Big Planet and Convergence Culture
  8. Marcus Leaning and Samuel McCathie (University of Winchester) The construction of Games Studies at undergraduate level in British Universities: Preliminary findings
  9. Samuel McCathie (University of Winchester) I, Avatar – Playing with identity using video game avatars
  10. Pejman Mirza-­Babaei (University of Sussex) Uncovering player experience:Utilising Biometrics data to Reveal Latent Playability Issues
  11. Souvik Mukherjee (De Montfort University) Rewriting Unwritten Texts: After-action Reports and Videogames
  12. Lotte Vermeulen (Ghent University) Exploring Gendered Play. A Study into Gender Preferences in Game Design across Core and Non-Core Genre Players
  13. Ulf Wilhelmsson & Marcus Toftedahl (University of Skövde, Sweden) Enhanced game experience through novel interface design
  14. Jim Wood and Edmond Prakash (University of Bedfordshire) Invisible Interaction for Games
  15. Journal of Gaming and Virtual worlds panel The Language of Gaming: Between Code and Communications
  16. Eben Muse (Bangor University ) Let loose the players of games: variety and the chance of space
  17. Astrid Ensslin (Bangor University) Metaludic communication: speech acts, politeness, discourses
  18. Isamar Carrillo Masso (Bangor University) Fraternising with the enemy: the metalinguistic practices of Horde and Alliance players in WoW

Steven Boyer

Converging on Bugs: Consumer/Producer Blurring in Game Testing

Convergence between consumers and producers has become increasingly prominent across all media, but is especially prevalent in video games due to the centrality of the player in the product itself. As play and labour blur, several types of “work” previously performed by industry professionals have shifted towards the consumer domain, with significant implications for both the activities of players and the functions of dedicated workers.
This paper focuses on game testing, one site where the boundary between game consumers and producers is especially ambiguous but which has received very little academic attention. While much of the quality assurance process still occurs within the confines of game production facilities, game developers now routinely engage ordinary players to test their products for both “fun” and “bugs” prior to official release (sometimes even charging for this privilege). Major shifts in technology, game design, industry labour, and advertising have only further extended this process beyond the confines of game developers.
This convergence has precipitated the conflation of “betas” and “demos,” eroded the concept of the “finished product,” and encouraged the evolutionary development models of companies like Valve and Blizzard in which ongoing user feedback is integrated into a game's core. More broadly, this paper raises fundamental questions about the potentials for both liberation and exploitation of consumers in their incorporation into media production, the role of workers within convergent systems, and even the very distinction between players and workers.

Ashley Brown

Lesbian Elves and Goblin Sex Machines: An analysis of erotic fan fiction and fan art in World of Warcraft

This paper aims to explore the social phenomenon of creating, viewing, and discussing erotic fan art and fan fiction of World of Warcraft player-characters through an analysis of forum posts and original art work and fiction created by a role playing community. The data for this paper comes from a larger, and ongoing, PhD project on sexuality and erotic role playing in gaming communities that utilises both observation and interview data to understand the meanings players ascribe to erotic content in a game setting. Data was collected during a nine month ethnography in which the researcher became a member of an active role playing guild on a United States-based World of Warcraft server. The leaders of this guild host a private forum where guild members post biographies of the characters they role play, discuss the game, and generally chat about life. One section of this forum is explicitly used for erotic content and is thus policed so only members aged eighteen or over may access its content. This part of the forum functions as an archive for members to share original erotic fiction, drawings, sketches, and commissioned art work of sexually explicit nature. This paper analyses both the erotic art work and fiction for indications as to how sexuality is represented in a virtual, fantasy-based, role play community and whether or not these representations carry over into the players’ everyday lives outside of the game. The paper concludes with a discussion centred on player agency and creativity in enriching and customising game play.

Emily Collins

Are the cognitive benefits evident in video game players dependent on the absence of problematic video game use?

Previous research has noted significant benefits in visual and spatial attention in those that regularly play action video games. Although video game experience improves multiple objects tracking performance, this benefit is not evident in individuals found to be dependent on video games (Sun et al, 2008). This has not, however, been investigated in regards to any other task in which gamers have been found to have an advantage. The present investigation therefore assesses whether video game dependency affects performance across other cognitive tasks, namely those relating to flanker compatibility, enumeration, mental rotation, task switching and visual short term memory. A total of approximately seventy participants will be recruited, comprising of both video game players and non-players. The gaming participants will be separated into dependent and non-dependent groups according to their score on a self report video game addiction scale and performance on the computerised tasks in terms of accuracy and reaction times will be compared with each other and non-gamers. In line with previous findings it is expected that video game players will outperform non-players but also that those demonstrating themselves to be dependent video game players will not show the same level of attentional advantage as non-dependent game players. This has important implications for the use of video games in attentional training as well as understanding the negative and positive outcomes of excessive or dependent gaming. The results may also impact on games development, as increasing beneficial attentional outcomes may prove a selling point for certain games.

Carl Fordah and Edmond Prakash

Driving Games & Their Influence On Real-World Drivers

Driving games and racing games have been a great concern for the society as they are perceived to have a negative influence on a driver's behaviour in a real road driving scenario.
The project looks at driving based computer games to see whether engaging in these types of games make a difference to driving in real life situations. The challenge is to understand and evaluate whether there is a positive, negative or no effect on a person?s driving skill after playing a variety of driving games.

To address the challenges, the following work has been done.
(i) A user/driver survey has been carried out to understand existing racing games and their influence on drivers in real world situation.
(ii) To evaluate the influence on the driving behaviour, two racing games have been made and given to candidates to play. The design and implementation of the two racing games are explained in detail.
(iii) Several experiments have been conducted and we present an analysis of the driver's behavioural changes.
(iv) A discussion on the results of the games developed for this project, and how the games components influence and affect driving in real-life, and the results of the driver's behaviour with games will be presented.

In summary, this project has helped to evaluate the influence of a racing game in a driver's behaviour in a real road situation. The video game does have an effect. This effect could be channelised and used for positive influence so that we could have better drivers on the road.

Amber E. George

Paying to Play: Who Really Wins When Video Gaming Edges Into Pornography?

According to the market-research firm DFC, the interactive-entertainment industry is expected be worth $44 billion in 2011, with more companies eager to cash in on its opportunities. One company, GameCrush, has created the first social site for gamers – one that charges male players a fee in order to play with female players. The male player browses profiles, chooses a girl he fancies and then engages in live video chat while they play a game. After playing, the women are rated on their hotness, gaming skill and flirtatiousness; the highest-rated women receive preferred ranking and earn the most money.
As the popularity of video gaming has increased, the gamer demographic has evolved beyond its male-adolescent base, but social-science research has shown that females are vastly underrepresented in the games themselves; when females do appear, they are often depicted as hyper-sexualized ciphers. Some female characters do embody strength, speed and intelligence but sexuality is still their defining feature.
The power of female heroines for female gamers and characters is diminished by the overwhelming presence of sexualization. In this essay, I will discuss the problematic nature of such arrangements; that women are being paid to play games that glorify the sexual objectification of women as they, themselves engage in perpetuating a crass form of pornography. Some might argue that this service somehow indicates agency, social inclusion and liberatory power for the female gamer. I will argue that these “professional” female gamers are objectified, sexualized and trivialized by the video games they play and by their participation on this website. Citing Dworkin and MacKinnon, I will discuss how this perpetuates the portrayal of women as mere sexual objects to be exploited and manipulated for men’s pleasure.

Carolyn Jong

The Let’s Play Archive: Collecting Players, Performing Play

Let’s Play originated on the Something Awful forums as a gaming trend in 2006. A Let’s Play (LP) is a digitally documented playthrough of a videogame and usually consists of videos or screenshots of the game accompanied by commentary from the player. LPs range from serious and informative to parodic and playful. In each case, they require a significant and sustained investment beyond the playing of the game. The Let’s Play Archive was established in 2007 with the intent that LPs would live on forever – an attestation to their value, and their vulnerability. While LPs blur the distinction between virtual and physical experience, connecting a “real” voice with a virtual representation, the archive points to the inextricable link between the personal and the collective. This paper aims to answer three key questions: What do LPs document? What does this reveal about the player as performer? And how are LPs and their imagined audience resignified in the context of an online archive? As José van Dijck argues, mediated memories are essential to building a notion of personhood and identity, but they also construct a sense of continuity between ourselves and others – a process which is further emphasized by the element of performance inherent in LPs. In relation to online games, Torril Mortensen notes that all human interaction involves playing with roles and identities – computer mediation simply makes it more conspicuous. Let’s Play thus has a double meaning: the player is playing, not just the game, but the “self.”

Ewan Kirkland

Little Big Planet and Convergence Culture

This paper provides an overview of user generated content for Media Molecule’s Little Big Planet,placing the LBP community in theoretical context as an example of participatory culture, collective intelligence, textual poaching, and fan

LBP uniquely defines the game player as game designer, perpetually inviting users to participate in the construction of LBP levels. The creative tools provided by the LBP game design system allows the authorship of a broad range of game types. Distinction might be made between those organised around providing pure gameplay experiences – platform, racing, survival games – and those suggesting more instructive, storytelling, or aesthetic intentions. Levels designed to share knowledge about LBP game construction, costume design tips, or objects, represent examples of collective intelligence, whereby users pool resources to achieve shared goals. Narrative levels combine gameplay and linear storytelling in varying degrees, frequently drawing on existing films and television programmes. Levels based on Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Doctor Who represent the videogame equivalent of fan fiction, where devoted viewers construct their own original narratives using existing characters, settings and scenarios. Levels designed to recreate existing videogame titles – Donkey Kong, Green Beret, Super Mario Bros – represent a form of fan activity more specific to the gaming world. Many levels foreground the aesthetic possibilities of the LBP system, or reflect upon the dynamics of gameplay
itself, while the ranking and categorisation of levels according to users suggests hierarchical authorship is at play within the LBP community.

Marcus Leaning and Samuel McCathie

The construction of Games Studies at undergraduate level in British Universities: Preliminary findings.

This paper presents initial findings of a project examining the construction of one sub-field of new media studies in British Higher education.
The study of computer games is now considered a legitimate part of the undergraduate portfolio in a number of academic fields. Previous accounts of games studies have examined how the subject has evolved through a number of conferences, the publication of certain key texts and the formation of academic associations. This history has described a tension between how games studies emerged from a number of other disciplines such as computer science, film and literary studies and how these subjects were seeking to ‘colonize’ games studies. Other commentary has described a key debate between the advocates of narrative and ludic qualities of games.
This paper is presents initial findings of a project that uses an alternate approach the examining the emergence and codification of the field. The method used here is founded upon the proposal that an academic discipline is constructed and articulated not only in research but through its teaching to undergraduates. Academic fields are constructed in both research activity and in syllabi and teaching activities. As such our research presents descriptive rather than normative information on the field; we relate what is taught in the field of games studies rather than what should be taught according to particular theoretical positions.
Presented here are findings the first stage of the project. This has been to identify and examine key textbooks used in the teaching of games studies to undergraduates. Results from this study has indicate that: there is a general agreement on that certain topics are integral to the field of games studies; there is a second tier of topics which are only partially considered relevant in all the texts. This information is presented and the next stage of the project is described.

Samuel McCathie

I, Avatar – Playing with identity using video game avatars

This paper theoretically investigates how people use digital Avatars to perform within virtual worlds. It introduces concepts of digital and physical selves that an avatar posits and observes how study of the avatar figure can provide a different angle on the merging of technology, cultural studies and performance.

With the introduction of the internet to the technology of gaming, a player’s avatar is no longer ‘alone’. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGS) are at the forefront of this level of gaming, receiving a burst of critical attention. The interconnection of so many within these digital worlds creates a performance within the machine. Much like Marshal McLuhan’s celebrated concept of the Global Village (2001), these games are creating inner-worlds for people to virtually co-exist via a chosen/constructed avatar. Theorists like Yee and Castronova posit numerous ways in which the study of MMORPG’s contributes to cultural theory, but I will be focusing mainly on the figure of the digital avatar and notions of identity convergence inspired by its use. When a player migrates their identity into a virtual world, they divorce it from the limits of mortality, temporality and consequence. With this freedom of exploration, and the rising realism of virtual spaces, and the physical control allowed by new hardware, one can ‘play’ with one’s identity, allowing it to manifest and change through hyperreal experimentation

Pejman Mirza-­Babaei

Uncovering player experience:Utilising Biometrics data to Reveal Latent Playability Issues

Due to the specific characteristics of video games most of the established HCI (Human-­‐Computer Interaction) methods of user research cannot be used the same way for video games. To address this, the aim of the work presented here is to introduce an approach based on utilizing biometrics data in combination with other user research methodologies such as observation and interviews.
In this approach, player’s biometrics data are used to locate 'micro-­‐events' that provoke a significant amount of arousal (e.g. peaks in galvanic skin response) as an index of specific moments of a game with the greatest affect on player experience. The located events are played back for the player at the post-­‐session interview stimulating them to talk about their gameplay experience.
Our results suggests two main benefits of using this approach in game user research studies:
1) Issue Identification: this approach could help to indicate user experience problems, especially if the problem is difficult to detect with traditional HCI methods.
2) Issue Validating (Triangulation): From the usability and user experience issues identified, this approach can show their impact on the players’ psychophysiology. This can be used to confirm and support findings from other methods or design guidelines.

Our paper quantifies the value of this approach as an addition to traditional HCI user research methodologies. Moreover, it describes how this approach offers a mixed-­‐methods for video games user research community that can result in a more thorough evaluation of video games usability, and therefore more usable and playable games.

Souvik Mukherjee

Rewriting Unwritten Texts: After-action Reports and Videogames

Storytelling in videogames still remains a contentious issue and one that commentators have found difficult to agree on for over a decade. On the one hand, the multiplicity of possible events within the game narrative makes it difficult to employ traditional literary analysis and on the other, the stories themselves are often unfavourably compared to literary classics and criticised for lacking the depth and the significance. Despite these issues, however, players continue to enjoy playing videogames as a storytelling medium and the narrative exists, as it were, at an unstable and marginal level where it is recorded not only in the player’s memory but in walkthroughs, guides, wikis and the recent genre of fan-fiction based on actual gameplay instances and called ‘after-action report’ (referred to as AAR, hereafter). Studies of walkthroughs (Ashton and Newman 2010; Newman 2008) and cheat codes (Consalvo 2007) are slowly coming to the forefront; the after-action report or the game journal has, however, remained largely unnoticed in Game Studies. This paper explores after-action reports and the stories they tell.

Examples based on different game genres will be analysed here, such as the ‘Rise and Fall of the House of Jimius’, an AAR based on Rome: Total War (The Creative Assembly 2004), ‘The Amateur’, which is based on Hitman: Blood Money (Eidos 2006) and Ben Abraham’s ‘videogame-novelization’ called Permanent Death (Abraham 2009). The main aim here is to highlight the variety of the AARs, the creativity of their writers and to examine the conventions that the genre is building around itself. A comparison with older narrative media will be equally important. Indeed, the relationship between AARs and films based on videogames is worth investigating - the Hitman film and the AAR are cases in point. The same holds true for AARs and printed fan-fiction. With the combination of image, videos, game scores, strategy tips and imaginative rewriting of the game’s plot, the AAR combines many kinds of texts, ranging from the walkthrough to the graphic novel. It will also be argued here that the AAR is an important way of talking about stories in videogames.

Lotte Vermeulen

Exploring Gendered Play. A Study into Gender Preferences in Game Design across Core and Non-Core Genre Players

Gaming is rapidly gaining popularity as a pastime among women. One explanation for this is the industry’s successful targeting of female gamers through specific ‘girl game’ releases. This could imply that there are a priori differences in game design preferences between female and male gamers. The purpose of the present study is to explore these differences to see whether there is a mediating effect of previous experience with certain game genres on subsequent design preferences. More particularly, we distinguish between ‘core’ genre players (CP) and ‘non-core’ genre players (NCP). Respondents who play shooters, fighting, action-adventure, sports, racing, strategy or MMO games at least once a week are considered as core genre players. We hypothesize that gender differences in game design preferences diminish among core players because of more similar interests and experience. By means of a 2*2 ANOVA design using an online survey (N=983), we examine the main effects of gender, core genre players (CP/NCP) and the interaction effects between both independent variables. We focus upon game design preferences concerning violence, level of game complexity, sexual representation of female game characters, avatar customization, game setting, humor and other in-game elements. The results show that game preferences of male CP, female CP and male NCP are generally in line with one another whereas those of female NCP differ more significantly, which confirms our hypothesis.

Ulf Wilhelmsson & Marcus Toftedahl

Enhanced game experience through novel interface design

This paper discuss how a project team and students at the University of Skövde created a very different and novel installation consisting of nine game stations that are integral parts of an adventure walk located within an old military fortress dating back to the mid-19th century. The paper focuses on how the team developed a co-op two player game integrating a dome projection screen, two 16:9 video projectors, custom built special input devices including a step-plate with rumble function, a motion-based joystick controller and a microphone to control the game. Furthermore, the game utilizes local sound effects for each of the nine stations but global music i.e. each station has speakers for the local sound effects of the game played at the station but the music is common for all nine stations which are located in the same room in adjacent positions to each other. This demands a quite advanced network solution. The technology used was mainly based on experiences drawn from several research projects carried out at the university during the last three years. The platform that has been developed is built to be as expandable as possible concerning both input and output devices as well as actual game content.

Jim Wood and Edmond Prakash

Invisible Interaction for Games

This presentation will look at core developments in games technology with focus on Invisible Game Interaction. The Nintendo Wii games console was an instant success because of the Wiimote. Old and young alike embraced it. The Microsoft Kinect pushed the boundary even further, where the interaction device is slowly becoming invisible and the human body becomes the interface. Finally, we look at novel research developments that go beyond current game interaction devices.

Eben Muse, Astrid Ensslin & Isamar Carrillo Masso

The Language of Gaming: Between Code and Communication

This panel looks at two major aspects of the language of gaming (cf. Ensslin 2011): the ways in which videogames, including their underlying source codes and surrounding paratexts, convey meanings to their audiences, and the ways in which gamers communicate and negotiate meanings between themselves in various meta-zones revolving around gameplay. Whilst refraining from contending that there is a single and united language of videogames and gaming, we aim to identify and show examples of idiosyncratic linguistic, semiotic and discursive practices and processes that are characteristic of the social and semiotic sphere of videogaming. In seeking to exemplify the diversity of multimodal signification, the numerous layers of encoding and decoding, and in particular the pragmatic and social aspects involved in the language of gaming, the three papers in this panel focus on (1) the relationships between player, rule and variety; (2) illocutionary forces, politeness and player discourses as elements of metaludic communication; and (3) in-world metalinguistic practices and folk metalanguage.

Ensslin, A. (2011, forthcoming), The Language of Gaming, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Eben Muse

Let loose the players of games: variety and the chance of space

Games are spaces created through code where players engage with rules that were also created through code. This is neither a new idea nor one limited to the virtual world. The physical world is a space created through the codes of physics and biology; we move through it, engaging with rules created by law and (since the last century at least) code. Lawrence Lessig’s (2000) claim that 'code is law' applies not only to virtual worlds but to the physical world of social and political law. There are clearly at least three concepts to be determined here: code, law, and rule; since we are discussing games, the ideas of fun and play should also at least be considered before being tossed aside in favour of an authoritarian rule-bound form of game. It will be argued here that player, rather than rule, is the fundamental element of games. Simon Nicholson’s “theory of loose parts” (1972), which suggests that inventiveness and creativity (play) are dependent on variety rather than rules, will be considered as an option for a game design that maximises what Doreen Massey has called the “chance of space”. The presentation will begin with a description of game construction through pseudo-code examples using the interactive fiction tool Inform 7 before exploring the relationship of player, rule and variety in two interactive fiction games: “Rover's Day Out” (Welch and Collins-Sussman 2009) and Trinity (Moriarty 1986).

Lessig, L. (2000), Code: and Other Laws of Cyberspace, New York: Basic Books.
Massey, D.B. (2005), For Space, London: Sage.
Moriarty, B. (1986), Trinity, Cambridge, MA: InfoCom.
Nicholson, S. (1972), 'The theory of loose parts: an important principle for design methodology', Studies in Design Education Craft & Technology, 4:2, pp.5-14.
Welch, J. and Collins-Sussman, B. (2009), Rover’s Day Out, http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=jf5zkjj3jqfllwcn. Accessed 13 March 2011.

Astrid Ensslin

Metaludic communication: speech acts, politeness, discourses

This paper looks at specific types of contexts in which videogames and gaming are referred to and debated 'metaludically' by gamers, game designers and producers, as well as stakeholders whose voices appear in general media discourses, such as newspaper journalists, celebrities and parents (Ensslin 2011). My first focus will be on the ways in which communicative actions are performed in the language of gaming. To do so, I will draw on Austin's (1962) and Searle's (1969) speech act theory and discuss specific types of speech acts that are particularly characteristic of video games as texts and paratexts: directives and expressives. The second part of this paper will focus on the ways in which gamers set up their own social and communicative rules as communities of practice (cf. Wenger 1998), and at the implications this has for concepts of politeness (Lakoff 1973) and social acceptability. It will become clear that the in-game dictates of achievement and performance lift commonly acknowledged maxims of politeness and replace them with gamer-specific notions and expectations of appropriate behaviour. Indeed, types of speech acts that in other social situations would be highly unacceptable, such as bad language and mutual derision, are standard ways of communicating in gamers' communities of practice. These 'alternative' rules of accepted communicative behaviour are also shaped by the need to subvert the discourse of power, which tends to oppose gamer subcultures, and they work to ensure the maintenance of social bonds both outside and inside the magic circle. Subsequently, I look at a number of dominant discourses (cf. Foucault 1991) used by gamers, including the discourses of 'cool', of fun, and of appreciation. By the same token, I shall examine how gamers stylize their language to express emotional engagement.

Austin, J. L. (1962) ,How to Do Things with Words, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Ensslin, A. (2011, forthcoming), The Language of Gaming, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Foucault, M. (1991), 'Politics and the Study of Discourse', in G. Burchell, C. Gorden and P. Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 52-72.
Lakoff, R. T. (1973), 'The logic of politeness: minding your Ps and Gs', Chicago Linguistics Society, 9, 292-305.
Searle, J. R. (1960), Speech Acts, London: Cambridge University Press.
Wenger, E. (1998), Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Isamar Carrillo Masso

Fraternising with the enemy: the metalinguistic practices of Horde and Alliance players in WoW

This paper is an exploration of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games as 'discursive spaces' (Heller 2009). It forms part of a research project that examines the ways in which video games of various genres make use of, construct, and refer to, language and multimodal discourse (Ensslin 2010, 2011a/b), intradiegetically, intraludically and metaludically (Carrillo Masso 2009, 2010).

In an exemplary analysis of World of Warcraft (Blizzard 2004-2011), I shall demonstrate how distinctive features of character and interface design (Newon 2011), as well as game mechanics more generally ('modality' and 'mediality' [Johnson & Ensslin 2007]), impact on human-computer-human communication, and therewith on actions taken and ideologies subscribed to by players, as evidenced by their metalanguage. The game centres around a world ('Azeroth') torn by a savage war between two factions, the Alliance (composed of Humans, Gnomes, Dwarves, Night Elves, Draenai, and Worgen) and the Horde (composed of Orcs, Trolls, Undead, Tauren, Blood Elves, and Goblins). As part of the game mechanics, players from different factions are made unable to communicate by means of a system that garbles up their typed messages. Players have learned to circumnavigate these limitations, turning the cracking of the language code into a metagame, and the language of 'elite' players into a form of folk metalanguage, by virtue of its ludic exploration of the purpose of communication, and its revealing (perhaps unintentionally) underlying ideological assumptions on the nature of language (Preston 2004; Jaworski et al. 2004).

Blizzard Entertainment (2004-2011), World of Warcraft, Irvine, CA: Blizzard Entertainment.
Carrillo Masso, I. (2009), 'Developing a Methodology for Corpus-based Computer Game Studies'. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 1(2), pp. 143-69.
Carrillo Masso, I. (2010), 'The Grips of Fantasy: The construction of female characters in and beyond virtual worlds' in A. Ensslin and E. Muse (eds), Creating Second Lives: Community, Identity and Spatiality as Constructions of the Virtual, New York: Routledge, pp. 113-142.
Ensslin, A. (2010), ‘Black and white: Language ideologies in computer game discourse’, in S. Johnson & T. Milani (eds) Language Ideologies and Media Discourse: Texts, Practices, Policies. London: Continuum, pp. 205-222.
Ensslin, A. (2011a, forthcoming), The Language of Gaming: Discourse and Ideology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ensslin, A. (2011b, forthcoming), ‘Recallin' Fagin: Linguistic accents, intertextuality and othering in narrative offline and online video games’, in G. Crawford, V. Gosling and B. Light (eds), Online Gaming: Production, Play & Sociality. London: Routledge.
Heller, M. (2009), 'Media, the state and linguistic authority', in S. Johnson & T. Milani (eds) Language Ideologies and Media Discourse: Texts, Practices, Policies. London: Continuum, pp 277 -282.
Jaworski, A., N. Coupland and D. Galasiński (eds) (2004), Metalanguage: Social and Ideological Perspectives, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Johnson, S. and Ensslin, A. (2007), 'Language in the media: theory and practice', in S. Johnson and A. Ensslin (eds) Language in the Media: Representations, Identities, Ideologies. London: Continuum, pp. 3-24.
Newon, (2011, forthcoming), 'Semiotic creativity in the digital ecology of an MMORPG guild', in Thurlow & Mroczek (eds), Digital Discourse: Language in the New Media. New York: Oxford University Press.
Preston, D. (2004), ‘Folk metalanguage’, in A. Jaworski, N. Coupland and D. Galasiñski (eds.), Metalanguage: Social and Ideological Perspectives. Berlin: de Gruyter, pp. 75-101.