You Can't Do That: Social Norms and Gaming

There's a fun little piece over at the Escapist on social networks (real ones, not the virtual variety) and gaming. The social aspect of gaming lends itself to the creation of complicated rules and unspoken codes of behavior:

School days were a waiting game, ticking the seconds off until we could dash home and play, our bags bulging with the triple prongs of spare Nintendo 64 controllers. Lunch breaks were spent reliving past conquests and planning for future marathon sessions. Our passion for Mario Kart 64 spawned a mythology. Rules and codes developed, seemingly arcane in their source, unwritten, but loudly voiced:

"YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT!"

And it's true. I wasn't. My elation at discovering a neat glitch on the expansive Wario Stadium track quickly turned into disappointment as my less nimble-thumbed friends informed me that, as long as they couldn't use a shortcut, I wouldn't be able to.

Sociologists already look at in-game behaviour and norms, and I have no doubt anthropologists will someday be looking at how people gamed and why. It's an interesting part of games in general, not just video games.

You're Not Allowed To Do That. [The Escapist]


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