Deterritorialized Homo Ludens: MMORPG as a Cultural Dimension of Globalization
In his book Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga (1955) analyzed the fundamental characteristics of play and demonstrated its importance in the development of culture and civilization. The historical traditional of thinking about play often associates different games with distinctive geographical territories. For example, cricket, football, or badminton each reflects not only the cultural, but also economic tradition of the nations and areas where it is most played. Today network technology reshapes the concepts of space and time in play, through mediated real-time interactivity among players from distant localities. This article approaches the new technology of play, specifically Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG), from a globalization perspective. I address the practice of playing MMORPG as a deterritorialized activity and discuss why playing multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft and EverQuest are cultural experiences lifted off from the anchors of local environment. Examining the globally-defined rules, play systems, and win/lose scenarios of such games in combination with critical theories in global culture, deterritorialization, and the implication of technology, I would like to suggest that the deterritorialization of play, facilitated by the diffusion of network and information technologies, is a unique cultural dimension of globalization that occupies an important part of the social studies of technology and deserves its own discourse.
Keywords: Globalization, Culture, Deterritorialization, Technology, Play, Video Game, MMPORG
Ph.D. Student, Department of English, University of Central Florida