Multi-Player Computer Gaming: 'Better than playing (PC Games) with yourself'
Swalwell, Melanie Lorraine
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Based on research conducted with a multiplayer gaming group, this article introduces and critically outlines the phenomenon of "lanning," the practice where computer game players get together to play each other over a local area network or LAN. Swalwell argues that lanning presents a significant challenge to a number of ingrained assumptions about computer gaming. Primary amongst these is that lanning entails players meeting, not just in the virtual world of a game, but also face to face, dealing a blow to theories that gamers are anti-social. Swalwell goes on to argue that the sociality of this form of gameplay also highlights the paucity of a range of other, binary assumptions, in particular about what it is to encounter a game, and to "enter" virtual environments. Attention is focussed on some of the different negotiations that lanning involves - particularly across and between a range of materiality and reality statuses - and the implications of negotiations such as these for subjectivity.