Strategies and Tactics in Digital Role-Playing Games: Persuasion and Social Negotiation of the Natural Order Doctrine in Second Life's Gor

Strategies and Tactics in Digital Role-Playing Games: Persuasion and Social Negotiation of the Natural Order Doctrine in Second Life's Gor

Christophe Duret (Université de Sherbrooke, Canada)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6206-3.ch013

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors examine the strategies and tactics of persuasion used by the players in the Gorean role-playing games organized in Second Life, which is a video gaming adaptation of the series of novels The Chronicles of Gor by John Norman, games in which a doctrine is both defended and contested. These strategies and tactics fall into six different categories of closure conveyed in Gorean role-playing games: institutionalized enculturation, informal enculturation, hermeneutical closure, sociotechnical closure, narrative closure, and legal closure. The chapter shows that the PRPG-VE is an inadequate medium when it comes to conveying a persuasive message to a target, but it can be useful in the context of a media critical education program.
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Case Description

The Gorean role-playing games are participatory role-playing games in virtual world organized on Second Life and inspired by the fictional universe of the science fiction novels The Chronicles of Gor by John Norman. The setting for these games is the planet Gor which was summed up by Sixma (2009) as a “barbaric planet [...] where men are bold masters and women are either frigid mistresses or sexual slaves” (p. 5).

The participatory role-playing games in virtual environment are multiplayer role playing games in which players take on a role through an avatar in multi-user virtual environments (MUVE) which may or may not have been specifically designed for such activities. The PRPG-VE are representative of the participatory culture, as understood by Jenkins (2006), insofar as the players contribute to the development of the avatar scripts3 and accessories as well as the game mechanics, the virtual environment, the rules of the game and the game world (the diegetic frame) of the role-play4.

According to the site statistics for the Gorean Meter Support Portal (2012a; 2012b), dated July 15, 2013, there were 9,516 active avatars in 250 Gorean sims5 between July 2 and 15, 2013. Although there is no official census of the number of players who engage in Gorean role-playing games in Second Life, it could have been have more than 70,000 in 2009, as reported by Au (2009).

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