Believe it or not, I read a lot. My eyeballs grace far more communications outside the realm of The Novel Post and its dealings with the Extended Universe of Warcraft. These peepers peruse video game magazines, highfalutin comics (that’s not an oxymoron), popcorn books, fantasy drek, epic political dramas, white papers, History Channel tomes, classics and blogs. Lots of blogs. To the point where leaving the realm of Internet access covers me in sweat. The thought of returning to an RSS feeder with hundreds, perhaps thousands of unread items fills me with dread.
And I continue to add to my RSS feeder. My most beloved addition of the year has been “The Psychology of Video Games.” Jamie Madigan, a Ph.D. in psychology, has only penned a few dozen articles, but each of them are brilliant. Jamie attempts (and often succeeds) to explain via psychology how marketing and game design affects players, and why we get suckered in. Topics are broad, covering the my addiction to Steam bundles, unoptimized pricing by Microsoft, and Bayonetta.
Oddly enough, I traveled from Madigan’s on-going creation to another unusual realm of game discussion, philosophy. One of the articles, I am not sure which, had me scanning through Amazon, looking for new academic topics in an interest of seeing how the field approaches video games. I came across World of Warcraft and Philosophy: Wrath of the Philosopher King. The corny subtitle sold me. The book is one of a long-running series that looks at pop culture in a philosophical light. Everything from The Undead, Star Wars, Anime, The Beatles and Monty Python have had a treatment. The list goes on. And on.
Inside the WoW edition, readers are meet with a selection of articles that look at different aspects of the massive community that Blizzard has fostered. Why is it that there are ninjas? Should people be angry at the group of players that laid waste to an in-game funeral for a player of the opposing faction? Does the Corrupted Blood epidemic have any merit in real-world study? Just to name a few.
There’s really no point in doing a full review of the paperback. It’s either something you’ll be interested in or not, and it’s cheap enough to try. Regardless, some will be on the fence, so here’s a quick synopsis.
Many of the discussions are dated – Corrupted Blood was ages ago (In fairness, the book came out in late 2009) – and some of the same material is borrowed from blogs (with permission from the authors, of course). That being said, the very fact that it’s bound and pieced together by two trained philosophers and editors means that extra care has been taken. In some cases, the format allowed for the writer’s to revisits their original ideas, expanding upon their work for the more academic, non-ADD internet audience. These treatises are what made the book worth it for me.
To be honest, most people who visit LoreHound.com would be better off selecting one of the many other works in the series. The Lore Hounds are already well connected to World of Warcraft from the discussions here, and countless other community sites and blogs. But the same can’t be said for The Legend of Zelda or Batman, which are two investigations I picked up based on the strength of World of Warcraft and Philosophy: Wrath of the Philosopher King.