I’m very interested in Pearce’s communities of play since I’m studying MMOG and “potential” online gaming communities.

If following Carroll’s terminology, at least in this piece (pp.  3-15), I think she describes the forms of play communities (both in the physical world or on the Internet), classifies them as a category in the entertainment landscape, or to a wider sense, social play, contextualizes them in light of the technological background of Internet age and contemporary society (New varieties of adult play communities such as MMOG have begun to appear), then interpret them as vast landscape of networked playgrounds in which a variety of play communities and emergent social phenomena (e.g. culture) develop.

In her writing, she did refer to previous works to support her argument (or, evaluation?) of multiplayer games as play communities, such as McLuhan’s term “global village”, “communities of practice” in CMC, and Tonnies’s original definition of “community” (Gemeinschaft). But for me, I feel in this piece she takes the term of “community” for granted without providing a deep discussion of traditional community, online community and play community.There are already a lot of controversial debates surrounding definitions of community. Even though definitions of a community are diverse and questions are still unsolved, the concept of community has frequently been adopted to describe social practices in cyberspace and the new format of interaction environment – online communities. These questions are becoming more crucial when considering the new form of Internet communication–multiplayer online games due to its disintegration and reintegration. Is it appropriate to directly use the term “community” to refer to social activities and play culture in the online social environment of MMOGs?

In my opinion, community, online community, and community of play are three overlapped but distinct concepts. As Carroll did, using traditional terms in new situations may need careful examination and very specific definition. I think Pearce might do this in other parts of her book, or in her other works, but not so clear in this piece.

 

 

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