Video and Role-Playing Games

Although it is often assumed in the social sciences that serious religion and frivolous play are different, even incompatible, domains, this entry considers the elective affinity between both. On the one hand, role-playing—particularly in online video games—allows individuals to experiment informally with religious identities, worldviews, rituals, and experiences. The invocation of a temporal magic circle of play and a willing suspension of disbelief that underlies the act of role-playing can provide an important epistemological strategy for players to meaningfully engage themselves with the supernatural without necessarily converting to a religious position. Religious role play, in other words, permits opportunities for individuals or groups to experience religious or spiritual enchantment beyond the binary of belief or disbelief. Moreover, the salience of play is not unique to ...

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