This collection of all-new essays approaches the topic of immersion as a product of social and media relations in the 21st century. Examining the premises and aesthetics of live-action and tabletop role-playing games, reality television, social media apps and first-person shooters, the essays take both game rules and the media discourse that games produce as serious objects of study. Scholars of social psychology, sociology, role-playing theory, game studies, and television studies all examine games and game-like environments like reality shows as interdependent sites of social friction and power negotiation. The ten essays articulate the importance of game rules in our analyses of contemporary media products, and demonstrate methods that allow us to see those game rules in action during the contested process of play.
Evan Torner is a Ph.D. candidate of German Studies and Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. William J. White is an associate professor of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State Altoona, where he teaches speech communication and mass media courses. His research interests include communication theory, the rhetoric of science, science fiction and games as participatory culture. He lives in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.