Locating the Locus of Study on "Religion" in Video Games
AbstractFor Religious Studies scholars and avid gamers, a call for papers on religion and video games seems like the best of both worlds. However, in sitting down to reflect upon just what we might write about, it struck us that we had no idea what it is we're supposed to be discussing. What are the methodological and theoretical issues in writing about these topics? It seems to us that there are in fact three related (but not identical) areas for analysis: the “religious” responses gamers have to their games; how religions in games comment on religions “out there”; and, disinterested observation of the religions of fictional game worlds. Pursuing a broadly phenomenological methodology, this article will explore these three options of studying religion in video games using examples from a number of recent popular games. In particular, by drawing upon Alfred Schutz’s notion of provinces of meaning we wish to highlight that in certain respects the religions of video games can be no less “real” than the religions we find out here in the "meat-world".
video games; religion; methodology; Alfred Schutz