Players and Their Pets

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Hosted by the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, all on campus are welcome to attend.

In the world of massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), Faunasphere was but a blip on the screen in its short public life from 2009 to 2011. Its devoted players, many of them middle-aged women, entered a world that did not build on common fantasy or science-fiction tropes. There was no evil to defeat or realms to conquer, only friendly animals to care for and pollution to fight.

In her presentation, Mia Consalvo will present recent collaborative research soon to be published in her co-authored book, Players and Their Pets. In this study, Mia Consalvo and Jason Begy argue that its very difference makes Faunasphere critically important—even more so than the large, commercially successful games such as World of Warcraft that have all too often shaped game studies discourse.

Consalvo and Begy demonstrate how the beta, or player-testing, period of an MMOG can establish social norms within the game. The platform on which the game is built also creates expectations of how gameplay will be carried out as well as who will play it—and what happens when those expectations clash with the reality. Though Players and Their Pets explores a game played predominantly by women, it cautions against oversimplifying players based on their gender.

This event is part of the Ivan Allen College Day.

Mia Consalvo is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal. She is the co-editor of Sports Videogames and author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames. She has most recently completed the book Players and Their Pets with Jason Begy and is now finishing Japan's Videogames, a book about Japan's influence on the videogame industry and game culture.

Mia runs the mLab, a space dedicated to developing innovative methods for studying games and game players. She's presented her work at professional as well as academic conferences including regular presentations at the Game Developers Conference. She is the President of the Digital Games Research Association, and has held positions at MIT, Ohio University, Chubu University in Japan and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


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