Video games, particularly ones which occur over Internet connections, produce large amounts of revenue for the developers. The purpose of this thesis is to examine how players come to understand themselves in the virtual world offered by Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft ( WoW). By applying the rhetorical scholarship of Kenneth Burke, WoW is understood as a constitutive artifact that provides a terminological foundation for identity negotiation. Players are invited into a symbol system that allows for a heroic sense of self through violent imagery. WoW , although providing players with an escape from existential anxiety, fails to liberate players from the pressures of performing social roles and societal expectations. In closing, this thesis advocates for symbolic maturity, where players reflect upon the ways symbol systems in video games provide frameworks for understanding identity and its inherent paradoxes.
|Commitee:||Coonfield, Gordon, Mackey-Kallis, Susan|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||MAI 47/01M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Communication, Rhetoric, Composition, Recreation|
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