Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Harry Dahms

Committee Members

Tricia Hepner, Kasey Henricks


This thesis is a critically reflection on the rather recent phenomenon of online gaming and the virtual game worlds that sustain it. Contrary to popular culture where opinions on gaming in general have not substantially changed over the past decade—where it most assumes a position of unimportance and immaturity, gaming itself, whether as a pastime or a profession—along with the gamer—have since taken a number of irrevocable steps in becoming more confident in what they represent, who they are.By providing an outline of the game and the gamer first—what is an online game, how does it operate, who are the gamers, etc.—this thesis then participates, in synthesis with previous related discourses, contemporary discussions on the topic of online gaming. By addressing issues such as the reliance of online gaming on information technologies, the increasingly blurry boundaries between work and play, the shrinking offline and surging online sociality of younger generations, and the monarchical ownership structure of online entertainment industry, this thesis offers critical perspectives that are often overlooked by both nonacademic and scholarly discourses.

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