In Media Res

Media Commons has an excellent ongoing project called In Media Res wherein media scholars post short videos with introductory statements meant to engage the community in conversation.

It is not only a really interesting twist on academic discussion, but a great way to gain exposure to the various projects people are working, as well as potentially get some preliminary feedback on your own project.

I have a machinima video and short write-up there this week that I am using in a current paper and would love to get some feedback and thoughts on it from the Gameology staff and readers. I am using machinima to look at how players subvert the cultural norms and conventions of gamespace.

I confess I've watched the

I confess I've watched the clip several times, yet I still have a hard time understand what exactly Patrice does in WoW. Is it a reference to base jumping (like one of the videos linked to it by YouTube), his machinima productions (I only see one other in his profile), or just the simple fact that he does not level up? Is that ambiguity the whole point?

I was wondering if you could elaborate more on your point about subversive masculinity. Are you referring specifically to the masculine activity of fighting that is the social norm of the game? I did notice the standard gay insults in the YouTube commentary, as well as n00b rhetoric, but it's fairly obvious this guy is no noob if he can handle the camera system so well.

I don't play WoW myself, so I guess I was wondering just how masculinity works within the play structures of this particular game.

You seem to me to have a

Amanda, you seem to me to have a good understanding of what I am getting at!

I am interested in how dominant masculinity gets constructed in the game world, both by the design of world itself and its adherence to certain forms of racial construction, architecture, history, culture, etc. as well as through the playstyles of its players. This is important, because often the agency of players is forgotten in the equation and either ignored or ultimately subordinate to the narrative of the game world.

While every MMO is designed to support a variety of playstyles (raiders, questers, PVPers, tradeskillers, RPers, etc.), there is a definite hierarchy based on which ways of encountering the game are considered ‘proper’ given masculine norms.

Patrice, who prefers to explore the world and marvel at its aesthetic beauty rather than level up, is called a noob, or fag because he is not following the traditional phallic structure of advancement in power.

I found Patrice’s video to be a great annunciation and confident affirmation of alternative playstyles.


Not having played the game,

Not having played the game, I wasn't even aware that you could run around in your skivvies like that!

But aside from that, don't Patrice's alternative practices sort of cut him off from a large portion of the game world anyway? If he wants to explore the natural beauty of WoW, doesn't he need to level up at some point in order to access new areas?

I assume that the natural environment of WoW is filled with all sorts of hostile creatures that would ultimately make short work of Patrice if he ventured too far into the wilderness without something to protect him.

With specific reference to the piece - was that turtle-type thing in the water something that he might have taken the opportunity to attack (or vice versa)?

This also calls to mind virtual tourism in Second Life, which has the benefit of occurring in a combat-free environment. Why does he tour WoW, of all ill-advised places?

You're absolutely right

You're absolutely right about the hostility of the environment, which is one of the things that makes this case so interesting. A player like Patrice must not only combat the pressure of masculinity from other players, but is also, in some way, forced to submit to it through leveling up in order to access new areas to explore.

The area that he was venturing in is called Hillsbrad Foothills and is full of aggressive monsters around level 20-30, therefore I think its safe to assume he is level 20 or so in the video.

Of course, this could all be taking place on a private server, negating a lot of these concerns.