From Publishers Weekly
Refuting the idea that playing video games is an act of isolation undertaken by teenaged boys in dark basement rooms, Taylor presents the world of online gaming as a thriving social scene where players create friendships that transcend the digital domain. In playing EverQuest, (an MMOG, or massively multiplayer online game), Taylor travels through the digital fantasyland, slays other players, builds up her character's inventory and skills and, most importantly, shows how playing creates a huge network of people, many of whom take an almost job-like approach to gaming. She even meets up with fellow gamers and notes how "Recounting fights is a common topic of conversation among players." Also insightful are her thoughts on women and gaming, an underreported topic to which she dedicates a chapter. Taylor is, however, an academic, and tends to make simple concepts overcomplicated. So, sentences like: "There is no culture, there is no game, without the labor of the players. Whether designers want to acknowledge it fully or not, MMOGs already are participatory spaces (if only partially realized) by their very nature as social and cultural spaces" are far from uncommon. Save the moments of impenetrable jargon, Taylor's immersion into the online gaming world is a fascinating one that proves video games aren't just for the geeky neighbor kid anymore.
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"An articulate and thoroughly researched work, Play Between Worlds is an intriguing look behind the curtain of the world's hottest entertainment phenomenon: virtual-world gaming. Unlike other academics who merely play tourist in these games, Taylor spent four years in one world and became part of the community. You get to reap the benefits of her close association with the people who make these worlds exciting: the players." Jessica Mulligan, coauthor of Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide
"A fascinating peek into the formal and social architecture that undergirds and shapes the cultural phenomena that is EverQuest." Jane C. Park New Media and Society
"Reading Play Between Worlds is anything but grinding. Taylor has long been one of the most nuanced scholars of life in the massively multiplayer game worldsomeone who knows her orc from her dark elves, who understands the complex intertwining of online and offline identities, and who has interesting things to teach us about the ethics of power gaming. At the same time, she is someone who asks big questions about the relationship between work and play, about the debates surrounding gender and games, and about issues of online governance and intellectual property which will shape the future interactions between gamers and game companies. Each of the book's chapters could be read and taught on its own terms; taken as a whole, they add up to a vivid picture of a world where many of us are spending lots of time these days." Henry Jenkins , Director of Comparative Media Studies, MIT
"An articulate and thoroughly researched work, *Play Between Worlds* is an intriguing look behind the curtain of the world's hottest entertainment phenomenon: virtual-world gaming. Unlike other academics who merely play tourist in these games, Taylor spent four years in one world and became part of the community. You get to reap the benefits of her close association with the people who make these worlds exciting: the players."--Jessica Mulligan, coauthor of *Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide*