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“A World Awaits”: The Meaning of Mediatized Paganism in Online Computer Games

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Chapter Summary

This chapter studies the spiritual significance of mediatized paganism empirically by using a case study of online computer games. It is based on a content-analysis of 4 popular online games Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, World of Warcraft, and about 25 in-depth qualitative interviews with Dutch players of World of Warcraft. It is clear that these online games exemplify mediatized paganism: the worlds are suffused with neopagan worldviews, myths and legends and display countless magical rituals and techniques. While the content (i.e., the texts) of these mediatized worlds as being infused with paganism is undisputed, its spiritual meaning is not. The underlying argument of academics refuting such meanings is that people now-a-days have problems to believe in the supernatural in the real world, let alone believe in it in the context of mediatized fiction.

Keywords: Dark Age of Camelot; Everquest; online computer games; paganism; Ultima Online; World of Warcraft



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