eGods: Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming

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9780199935833: eGods: Faith versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming

What is the relationship between religion and multi-player online roleplaying games? Are such games simply a secular distraction from traditional religious practices, or do they in fact offer a different route to the sacred?

In eGods, a leading scholar in the study of virtual gameworlds takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions of 41 games and arrives at some surprising conclusions. William Sims Bainbridge investigates all aspects of the gameworlds' religious dimensions: the focus on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the gameworlds (and how this relates to cults in the real world); the predominance of polytheism; and, of course, how gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are multiple and immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games. Nevertheless, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Examining EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and many others, Bainbridge contends that gameworlds offer a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts, simulates many aspects of real life, and provides meaningful narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Indeed, Bainbridge suggests that such games take us back to those ancient nights around the fire, when shadows flickered and it was easy to imagine the monsters conjured by the storyteller lurking in the forest.

Arguing that gameworlds reintroduce a curvilinear model of early religion, where today as in ancient times faith is inseparable from fantasy, eGods shows how the newest secular technology returns us to the very origins of religion so that we might "arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

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About the Author:


William Sims Bainbridge is a prolific and influential sociologist of religion, science, and popular culture. He serves as co-director of Human-Centered Computing at the National Science Foundation. His books include Leadership in Science and Technology, The Warcraft Civilization, Online Multiplayer Games, Across the Secular Abyss, and The Virtual Future.

Review:


"This admirable project legitimizes video games not only as a storytelling medium for entertainment, but also as reflections of history and modern culture to be critically analyzed." - Publishers Weekly


"EDITORS' PICK. A long-awaited and truly fascinating book on the relationship between religion and multiplayer online role-playing games by highly respected sociologist of religion, science, and popular culture Bainbridge... The book's subject has been ignored by the academic world, perhaps because of its complexity, or possibly due to some in academia frowning on or ignoring games, even though understanding the gaming world is truly essential for understanding popular culture... This is fine reading. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." - Choice


"This rich, provocative account addresses video games' pervasive religious-themed imagery and constructs, which, prior to Bainbridge's work, have been studiously overlooked in academic study. The nuanced exposition reveals games to be rife with cults, proselytizers, evangelists, inquisitors, afterlives, temples, tombs, shrines, and of course e-gods and goddesses. Essential reading for keeping our ideas about games fresh and finally inquiring about that elephant in the room." - Bonnie Nardi, author of My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, 2010


"eGods succeeds in showing the many ways in which religious myths, values, and practices have increasingly colored the cosmological and ethical landscapes of the most popular MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games)."--The Journal of Religion


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Bainbridge, William Sims
Editorial: Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 0199935831 ISBN 13: 9780199935833
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Descripción Oxford University Press. Estado de conservación: New. Fine. Paperback. 2013. Originally published at $26.95. Nº de ref. de la librería W86149b

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William Sims Bainbridge
Editorial: Oxford University Press Inc, United States (2013)
ISBN 10: 0199935831 ISBN 13: 9780199935833
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. William Bainbridge takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions that exist in 34 different massively multiplayer online roleplaying games. He categorizes the religions, noting similarities across the games. He points, for instance, to the prevalence of polytheism: a system which, Bainbridge argues, can function as an effective map of reality in which each deity personifies a concept. Religions are as much about conceptualizing the self as conceptualizing the sacred. Most games allow the players to have multiple avatars, an idea Bainbridge likens to contemporary scientific ideas about personality. He also focuses on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic and its relationship to the computer program and programmer; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the game worlds (and how this relates to social science theories of cult formation in the real world); and, of course, how the gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games. At the same time, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Bainbridge contends that gameworlds are giving us a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts and simulates most aspects of real life. The quests in gameworlds also provide meaning for human action, in terms of narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Perhaps meaning does not naturally exist in our universe, but must be created by us, both in our fantasies and in day-to-day life. Like the games analyzed in this book, he says, traditional religions are fantasies that should be respected as works of art in a future civilization of disbelief. Nº de ref. de la librería POW9780199935833

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William Sims Bainbridge
Editorial: Oxford University Press Inc, United States (2013)
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. William Bainbridge takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions that exist in 34 different massively multiplayer online roleplaying games. He categorizes the religions, noting similarities across the games. He points, for instance, to the prevalence of polytheism: a system which, Bainbridge argues, can function as an effective map of reality in which each deity personifies a concept. Religions are as much about conceptualizing the self as conceptualizing the sacred. Most games allow the players to have multiple avatars, an idea Bainbridge likens to contemporary scientific ideas about personality. He also focuses on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic and its relationship to the computer program and programmer; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the game worlds (and how this relates to social science theories of cult formation in the real world); and, of course, how the gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games.At the same time, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Bainbridge contends that gameworlds are giving us a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts and simulates most aspects of real life. The quests in gameworlds also provide meaning for human action, in terms of narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Perhaps meaning does not naturally exist in our universe, but must be created by us, both in our fantasies and in day-to-day life. Like the games analyzed in this book, he says, traditional religions are fantasies that should be respected as works of art in a future civilization of disbelief. Nº de ref. de la librería POW9780199935833

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William Sims Bainbridge
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc. Paperback. Estado de conservación: new. BRAND NEW, Egods: Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming, William Sims Bainbridge, William Bainbridge takes an in-depth look at the fantasy religions that exist in 34 different massively multiplayer online roleplaying games. He categorizes the religions, noting similarities across the games. He points, for instance, to the prevalence of polytheism: a system which, Bainbridge argues, can function as an effective map of reality in which each deity personifies a concept. Religions are as much about conceptualizing the self as conceptualizing the sacred. Most games allow the players to have multiple avatars, an idea Bainbridge likens to contemporary scientific ideas about personality. He also focuses on sacred spaces; the prevalence of magic and its relationship to the computer program and programmer; the fostering of a tribal morality by both religion and rules programmed into the game; the rise of cults and belief systems within the game worlds (and how this relates to social science theories of cult formation in the real world); and, of course, how the gameworld religions depict death. As avatars are immortal, death is merely a minor setback in most games. At the same time, much of the action in some gameworlds centers on the issue of mortality and the problematic nature of resurrection. Bainbridge contends that gameworlds are giving us a new perspective on the human quest, one that combines the arts and simulates most aspects of real life. The quests in gameworlds also provide meaning for human action, in terms of narratives about achieving goals by overcoming obstacles. Perhaps meaning does not naturally exist in our universe, but must be created by us, both in our fantasies and in day-to-day life. Like the games analyzed in this book, he says, traditional religions are fantasies that should be respected as works of art in a future civilization of disbelief. Nº de ref. de la librería B9780199935833

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