Religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.
- Definition of Religion by Clifford Geertz
There seems to be a progressive pattern of advancing size and complexity in the video gaming industry. The linear elements of play that governed the laws and environmental construct of Pac-Man and Donkey Kong have been replaced by the massive and complex metropolises of Grand Theft Auto's Liberty City and the various worlds of Everquest and Warcraft. Entire economies, societies, and cultures are created and sustained through the interaction of the 70 million or so users. Nowhere else is the sheer breadth and intricacy of contemporary videogames better established than in the world of the genre MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game).
In most MMORPG's, players are not limited to the confines of the typical warrior, sorcerer, and archer social categories, but are also able to become musicians, politicians, merchants, priests, doctors, architects, jewelers, gamblers, and even sous chefs (Castronova, 108). There are active real-time economies, which without management, border on the precipices of inflation and monopolization. Much of the academic literature that has been published and is still being published rests on the correlation between aggression and the seemingly inherent violent nature of video games. After all, video games have long been based on the premise that the player "wins" by achieving a given set of goals, usually through violent means. The narrative styles of such games are usually composed of a simple beginning-middle-end story structure. However, in the world of MMORPG's, everything is exponentially... [continues]
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