The documentary Second Skin lets players of various role-playing games (RPGs) tell their stories in their own words. While the director presents plenty of evidence–both anecdotal and qualitative–to demonstrate that gamers come from a wide range of backgrounds, most of the story Second Skin tells does come from “stereotypical” gamers. Included are couples who met while playing online and a discussion of addiction among gamers. Anyone interested in online gaming will likely find this film interesting, but it won’t shed light on what a viewer likely already knows.
Pineiro Escoriaza, J. (Director). (2009). Second Skin [Motion picture]. USA: Pure West Films.
Written by four leading ethnographers of virtual worlds, this book examines human interaction in online spaces–both game and non-game. Readers are able to get a sense of digital ethnography from beginning questions, through data collection and analysis, to published results. It includes practical advice for dealing with ethical issues. The authors include case studies from World of Warcraft, Second Life, Everquest, and others. This is an excellent introduction to ethnography for anyone who wants to learn more about it or get started with their own research.
Boellstorff, T., Nardi, N., Pearce, C., & Taylor, T.L. (2012). Ethnography And Virtual Worlds: a Handbook of Method. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Anthropoligist Bonnie Nardi gives readers a firsthand account of World of Warcraft in this book. Nardi spent three years participating in and studying the massively multiplayer online role-playing game: learning gameplay, leveling her character, joining guilds, and advancing through the game in tandem with other players. Nardi also conducted a number of in-person and online interviews, including including a month spent in China studying players who access WoW in internet cafes. This book is an engaging look at gaming culture that addresses gender and addiction, while also debunking the myth of the stereotypical gamer.
Nardi, B. (2010). My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.