Real game worlds: The emotional reality of fictional worlds


  • Torill Elvira Mortensen IT University of Copenhagen Department of Digital design Center for Games Research Culture and Technology



games, virtual reality, game world, transmedia, virtual ethnography,


There are two ways to understand play: one is to observe it, the other is to participate in it. Since 2001, game studies has promoted participation as one of the main requirements to understand play. Some play is so performative that while it can be observed, it also must be played. Game worlds, the worlds of online, multi-user games, are delicate constructs of make-believe and technology, which act as support and arenas for immersive, theatrical and/or competitive play. This is a discussion of how far virtual ethnography can take the researcher in understanding game worlds.

To explore this, this article will address play, game worlds and transmediality, as well as discuss methods. I will look to Lisbeth Klastrup and Susana Tosca to discuss story worlds, as well as to discussions led by Celia Pearce, Tom Boellstorff and T. L. Taylor (among others) to discuss ethnography in games and virtual ethnographies.

Author Biography

Torill Elvira Mortensen, IT University of Copenhagen Department of Digital design Center for Games Research Culture and Technology

Digital Design, Associate professor


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How to Cite

Mortensen, T. E. (2018). Real game worlds: The emotional reality of fictional worlds. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 34(64), 16 p.