Shifting between game play and real world

Some further thoughts about the process of shifting between gameplay and the real world. One thing I have become increasingly interested in is how gamers move from gameplay into reflecting on their real surroundings – and how this use of game language, storyline or virtual modeling of a geography – can sometimes be a form of problem solving of real world issues. A kind of improvising which leads to some sort of discovery.

Of course, this line of inquiry isn’t aimed at reducing this experience into a simplistic notion that the fictional world of a video game has some how really found its way into reality – that gamers are unable to see the difference between the real and fictional, etc. Instead what is interesting to explore here is the way the language and modes of practice in the game world can be used by gamers to explain, or further understand, the real world around a player.

So, in the case of the Battlefield 3 project, is there some basic ‘realism’ which is accepted by these gamers which enables this shifting between game play and real life? For example – similarities between local or overseas places gamers have been to? Are there any geographies in a game like Battlefield 3, or other popular shooters like the Call of Duty series, where the more generic urban and city scapes in particular provide an overlap with local city scapes – and what types of meaning this appropriation results in – maybe venting frustrations, or daydreaming about apocalyptic scenarios played out localy …. what would I do if … ?

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