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Peer Reviews for Cast Study #1

For this week, I responded to Maury’s case study on a Foucauldian study of LARPing and Suzanne’s application of Genre Theory to the Underground Press Syndicate. I loved reading Maury’s case study because LARPing offers such a parallel and yet such a distinction to video games, especially in terms of human spontaneity. As I was reading her unraveling of the relationships between the nodes of  playable character- non-playable character -Game Master – system – mechanics, there was definitely the sense that there is always a system in play of human activity that builds a discourse in itself. I really liked Maury’s analogy of the different kinds of trees, with her idea that LARPing was more like a Tree of Life with a cycle whereas Foucault’s was a branching tree with leaves. Her entry gave me a new perspective as it was a practical application of Foucault, which made his concepts much easier (if not completely clear) to understand. I enjoyed looking at the thought process she had going on as she was designing diagrams that evolved as she started to unpack her own analysis and application.

Suzanne’s entry was especially enlightening as the intersections between the different Genre theorists we have read in class. Reading her work made me wonder about how I could deepen my own case study regarding World of Warcraft and the different kinds of genres and artifacts are being created when there really are no traditional texts in play in a virtual game. Her entry was also very insightful because I was introduced to the Underground Press Syndicate (something I had never stumbled on before) and the socio-cultural factors that went into play for its birth, continuance, and later its dissolution. I liked reading about the networks within the UPS and outwards towards other media outlets, its creation of artifacts and why those artifacts were so historically and culturally packed, and how the changing of technology and societal frames finally made the UPS outdated.

After reading bother Maury and Suzanne’s entries, I wonder what a diagram of the network of WoW guilds would look like on both a game-local and game-global level. Would it include relationships among the players? Relationships among the guilds? Relationships among the guilds among the different servers? Would it be before guild perks were introduced? Only explore after guild perk emergence? Would it include before and after? I think doing each of these and connecting the diagrams slowly would be an insightful project (though extensive) because then I could then trace how players gain agency and to what extent they are permitted agency within their own guilds and the game at large. But, that would be for another day (or week…or month).

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