Nerd Kingdom Reading Club: The Proteus Paradox

GazelleGazelle REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 35 Golem
edited December 2014 in Science!
Title: The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us – And How They Don’t
Author: Nick Yee

Background: The Proteus Paradox is basically the culmination of the last 10 years of Nick Yee’s life. For those of you not very familiar with gaming research, Nick Yee was part of a duo that had the largest, longest-running data collection on World of Warcraft ever. It was a big deal! You might have heard of him from his website, The Deadalus Project, where he conducted a bunch of surveys, interviews, etc. and reported back with his results. He’s become a pretty “household name” for a lot of game researchers, and was one of my inspirations for going into game research [I even got to work at the same company with him for about a year! Unfortunately not on any of the same projects, but we did get to talk a lot]. I thought he would be a good place to start for reading club because this book is actually really accessible, and the Kindle edition is pretty cheap on Amazon.

Synopsis: The book is set up so each chapter covers a different research topic, including [but not limited to] player demographics, in-game romances, how your behavior changes when you use different avatars, gold farmers, gender differences, and virtual persuasion. Most of the concepts are talked about in reference to topics in Psychology, which is the author’s background field. The book is riddled with cool research analyses [MMOs may be better places for shy people to start off relationships because social pressures of the offline world aren’t present] and quotes from interviews with players [“In Anarchy Online, some people believed that wearing certain gear was the way to gain certain drops and would spend hours farming gear so that they could farm other gear.”] that make the book really engaging and entertaining to read.

You Might Be Interested in this If…: It’s a great overview of some big topics online gaming research, so if you’ve ever been sort of interested in that, this might be the book for you! Alternatively, if you have a history with MMOs, you will be hit with a lot of nostalgia waves from this book and memories of people that you played with doing the things mentioned in this book. It’s a “fun” read in the sense that you’ll be learning a lot neat gamey facts, and written in a way that you’re not dragging yourself through dense material. Also: if you like throwing down knowledge on people who talk about how terrible video games are for you, definitely pick this up [80% of MMO players play with real life friends or family! BOOM. SOCIAL OUTCAST STEREOTYPE BUSTED!].

My Opinion: When I picked this book up, I thought it was going to be a really academic theory heavy in talking about the topics it did [I was sort of looking forward to this because I’m a huge nerd], but the fact that it was written in a way that literally my 13 year old cousin who is developing an interest in games could pick it up and read most of it successfully and in a way she could understand was sort of cool! This book definitely intends to bring information about games user research to the gamers themselves as opposed to keeping it at conferences and in journals [that only stuffy academics read anyway, honestly] so you guys know what’s going on. I think this is a big part of our goal with the research at Nerd Kingdom too, which is why I thought it would be a good initial suggestion.

If you guys have any questions/comments/discussions you’d like to start below, I’d love to field anything! If you pick up this book and decide to read it, come back and tell us what you think! If you’re interested in this, you may also want to check out an AMA Nick Yee did on Reddit regarding his work.
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Comments

  • FrostTheTacticianFrostTheTactician REGISTERED Posts: 176 Seed
    Good timing, I just finished reading Flowers for Algernon so I've been looking for a new book to pass the time, this one looks like a fairly interesting read. Of course it being a fairly niche book I'd have to find it on amazon, pay for the book, pay 50% of the books price in shipping, wait 10-14 work days for it to get here and pray to gods I don't believe in for it not to get lost in the mail - OR pay about half the price and download it almost instantly to my kindle, man I love living in the future.

    I'll tell you what I think once I finish reading it.
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    "Feign inferiority, exploit their arrogance."
  • PuttyPutty REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 24 Golem
    Good timing, I just finished reading Flowers for Algernon so I've been looking for a new book to pass the time, this one looks like a fairly interesting read. Of course it being a fairly niche book I'd have to find it on amazon, pay for the book, pay 50% of the books price in shipping, wait 10-14 work days for it to get here and pray to gods I don't believe in for it not to get lost in the mail - OR pay about half the price and download it almost instantly to my kindle, man I love living in the future.

    I'll tell you what I think once I finish reading it.

    Or just get it on the Kindle store!

    One thing to get some context for Yee's work is that he originally was testing against the typology of MMO players from Richard Bartle's HEARTS, CLUBS, DIAMONDS, SPADES: PLAYERS WHO SUIT MUDS. These have been the types that have been in MMOs for quite some time (not because the typologies were completely correct but because of trends in design).

    You can find Yee's dissertation here: http://www.nickyee.com/pubs/Dissertation_Nick_Yee.pdf

    It's a neat read because you can see a lot of progression not so much in Yee's metrics but in what games allow people to do. The Killer, for example, is almost completely gone and replaced with the "Trade Chat Troll." One thing I want to push for in TUG is a return to allowing murders, bandits, and whatever else people come up with to persist in a way that is interesting.

    Here is Bartle's types, by the way.
    • - Achievers are driven by in-game goals, usually some form of points gathering - whether experience points, levels, or money.
    • - Explorers are driven to find out as much as they can about the virtual construct - including mapping its geography and understanding the game mechanics.
    • - Socializers use the virtual construct to converse and role-play with their fellow gamers.
    • - Killers use the virtual construct to cause distress on other players, and gain satisfaction from inflicting anxiety and pain on others.

    I like that Yee has published this book. It's a good foundation for anyone trying to get into studying personality online and identity.
  • PamcakesPamcakes REGISTERED, Moderator Posts: 738 Seed
    Ugggh, I want to read this but money.
    That's a really cool shirt you have on.
  • GazelleGazelle REGISTERED, Vakaethei Posts: 35 Golem
    Pamcakes wrote:
    Ugggh, I want to read this but money.

    VALID CONCERN. We are going to try to get some free access articles for the upcoming reading club posts for you guys.
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  • BandersnatchBandersnatch REGISTERED Posts: 101 Seed
    Adding this to my long (very very long) reading list!
  • unholystagepresenceunholystagepresence REGISTERED Posts: 16
    Goodness, I'm glad I found this thread. Psychology and video games is my intended field of study! Gonna go grab that book now so that I can start reading!
  • maya112maya112 REGISTERED Posts: 1
    It's a neat read because you can see a lot of progression not so much in Yee's metrics but in what games allow people to do. The Killer, for example, is almost completely gone and replaced with the "Trade Chat Troll." One thing I want to push for in TUG is a return to allowing murders, bandits, and whatever else people come up with to persist in a way that is interesting.
    Are you interested in 642-980 exam Get our self paced testking Test King and Florida Memorial University study packages to pass your Keiser University without any difficulty in Northwood University.
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