- Hardcover: 264 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (January 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300190999
- ISBN-13: 978-0300190991
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us―And How They Don't Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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"Nick Yee is responsible for the most thoughtful work on the psychology of avatars and gaming in the past 15 years. He also has a rare gift for writing compelling prose."—Jeremy Bailenson, author of Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution
“Nick Yee’s fascinating new book on the human relationship to online games uses years of exhaustive studies to calmly debunk some of the persistent myths about online games.”—Leigh Alexander, The Columbia Journalism Review (Leigh Alexander Columbia Journalism Review)
About the Author
Top customer reviews
Before I get into the specifics about the book, let me say that all my life I've been a gamer and I've battled constant criticism and outright hatred for my passion. People love having a group to hate. I've been called an addict, a loser, and much much worse. While Yee touches on all of this he goes so much deeper into the whole mentality and workings of the MMO society. This is a fantastic study of a much talked about yet little understood group of people. Yee's analysis borders on genius.
All that said, this book is not a for-gamers-only type of deal. It presents Yee's findings in a completely scientific and interesting manner and it tells a compelling story. My personal stories may not have been used by Yee in this book but even so looking back I feel I contributed to the work of a very smart man doing some very cool things. It was definitely a worthwhile pursuit and this book is definitely something any gamers, parents of gamers, sociologists, psychologists, people who are interested in those things, friends of those people, dogs, cats, birds...everyone. Everyone should read. Nick, if you find yourself perusing the reviews for your book: Thank you for saying so many great things so well. I'm happy to have bought the book and I'm more than happy to recommend it to my friends and family. Great work!
I am a female gamer - and I am not a young one. I am one of those who actually started online gaming after a full career doing other things on computers. Because I have been around computers for most of my adult life, and because I can type very well, I thought perhaps I might enjoy playing an online game. I discovered that some of the situations I got into in game, the relationships that I became part of, the exchanges of ideas, emotions, ideas, even some of the insults, the retributions, the rituals that I participated in with other people on line, around the world, were both like a real community in my home town, and totally unlike any kind of community I could ever expect to find in my real world. In some respects, the virtual world of Norrath and Azeroth, the Rift world ... the Star Wars Universe .. these virtual spaces became as real (sometimes MORE real) to me than my own real life sometimes is. I believe that Nick Yee saw this kind of psychological and emotional development blooming in the games he was examining (and playing?). I believe there is an enormous potential for the development of better communication skills, and better social relations for people who participate in virtual gaming worlds. Furthermore, I believe he has a good common sense approach to the phenomena, and an awareness of both the potential benefits and the potential pitfalls of participating in a virtual world, of making a commitment to "live" in a virtual world. I just got the book - I can't speak to what is in it quite yet, but I have communicated with Nick Yee during the research that he was conducting, provided feedback, asked questions. I feel honored to have met him and been offered the opportunity to help him with it. My perspective, as an older female player with essentially NO prior experience playing in a multiplayer virtual game world prior to beginning EQ2, and my perspective as a college graduate with a strong educational background in psychology and sociology, may have been of some help to him. At least it was one more point of view among many that helped him form his analyses. I hope this book becomes widely known and read. We all have a LOT to learn about the virtual communities we are forming around the world. I think it's a stepping stone to new social realities - and an awesome learning lab for future world explorers!
I read a lot of tech books. Correction: I *peruse* a lot of tech books, because it's hard to find one that's good enough to read from start to finish. In many, the writing is obtuse. In others, the author is too busy arguing whether we are headed for a technophiliac heaven or a dystopian, Skynet-run hell to step back and present the evidence evenhandedly. This book has neither of those issues. The prose is easily comprehensible and even elegant at times, making for an enjoyable read. Moreover, Yee avoids the claim-staking of many tech writers, opting for an explanatory focus.
My favorite thing about this book is the variety of topics it covers, many of which have been scarcely covered in other texts. In his research and in this book, Yee delves inside game players' psyches to explore their motives, reasoning, and social behavior. The chapter on superstitions will have you thinking about all the superfluous button-pressing you've done heeding some urban legend or another. Another chapter on labor will have you questioning how much fun you're actually having in games sometimes. The take on sex and gender in another chapter is refreshing and thought-provoking.
Additionally, Yee unwinds fascinating research done on persuasion in virtual environments, which is increasingly applicable in our nudging, poking, advertisement-filled digital lives.
I'll add that as a professor who teaches about video games, this is the book I have been looking for: coverage of social mechanisms and implications that reviews quantitative and qualitative research. Nick's writing is clear and compelling, and is appropriate for undergraduate or graduate audiences.