Virtual societies, a journey of powertrips & personalities : a dramaturgical and ethnographic study of Winnipeg's original live-action Vampire the Masquerade role-playing game community

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Myhre, Brian Lawrence
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Play is more than an activity; it illustrates the diversity and malleability of human social relations. It is our awareness of the flexibility of everyday social routines and our freedom to control the styles and definitions of our presentations. This thesis is exemplified during the interplay of participants of Winnipeg's original live-action role-playing game, Vampire the Masquerade. Although, initially a community of strangers, by role-playing fantasy characters, participants shaped not only the shared fantasy of their gothic-horror game, but also their everyday understanding of social reality. The in- and out-of-game interactions of metaplayers epitomise how we use common schemata and roles to manage our impressions of the social order, augmenting our self-identities and the format of our social existence. Players were socialized into this virtual community when they realized the actual relationships that shaped their interpretations of character-actions and player-reputations. Information for this thesis was obtained through participant-observations, and interviews of seventeen player-consultants. Like all game players, I created and role-played a fictional character. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)