The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us--And How They Don't
This book challenges the myths around who plays online games and what really happens in these virtual worlds. We often think of online games as being about fantasy, freedom, and fun, but many gamers describe their gaming as a second job, superstitions flourish, and a player's suspected offline ethnicity can be a matter of virtual life and death. Moreover, virtual worlds contain a host of unique psychological tools for controlling how we think and behave. Drawing from player narratives, psychology lab experiments, and analysis of game server data, this is a book about gnomes falling in love, superstitious pigeons, how a community changes when computer city guards give out directions, and ultimately, what it means to be human in a digital world.