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Title: Death in Fortnite : a theological exploration of Fortnite’s representation of death and its perceived effect on youths in Malta
Authors: Pulis, Matthew
Keywords: Fortnite Battle Royale (Game)
Death -- Religious aspects -- Christianity
Youth -- Christian life
Issue Date: 2019-09
Citation: Pulis, M. (2019). Death in Fortnite: a theological exploration of Fortnite’s representation of death and its perceived effect on youths in Malta. (Master’s dissertation)
Abstract: It is estimated that every three to five years a ground-breaking and disruptive game emerges. Fortnite has been described as the “high school musical of gaming: witty, approachable and with the best dance moves”; “the most culturally relevant game that we have had potentially ever”; and a “phenomenon”. Last year it was the most revenue-generating game, and, although early this year it showed signs of slowing down, it is still the most popular game. Fortnite’s success lies in the interplay between: a non-violent third person shooter (TPS); colourful cartoonish-looking; non-gore; fought in an (innovative?) Battle Royale (BR) genre; tactical-building while scavenging resources. The ludological style is integrated in a free-to-play ‘games as a service’ model, where Epic makes money through the selling of battle passes (BP) and vBucks3 which allows the player to purchase emotes and skins. Albeit it is a free game, 68.8% of Fortnite players have spent money on in-game purchases, averaging at $84.67 each and $1m sales per day. Cultural theorist Huizinga argues that we are Homo Ludens – we are born to play. It is not just a matter of how we play in our everyday life but playing defines our culture, and ultimately our own being. In fact, Huizinga describes play as “stepping out of ‘real’ life into a temporary sphere of activity with a disposition all of its own”. Taking cue from this stepping-out mechanism, Detweiler claims that nearly all video-games attempt to create a sphere with a unique and magical disposition. Character formation, and hence theological formation, happens in community, and thus, Huizinga argues, “the feeling of being ‘apart together’ in an exceptional situation, of sharing something important, of mutually withdrawing from the rest of the world and rejecting the usual normal, retains its magic beyond the duration of the individual game”. This interplay of meaning-making has sparked Huizinga’s concept of the ‘magic-circle’ where a temporary world, within the ordinary world, is created and “dedicated to the performance of an act apart”. Zimmerman and Salen furthered Huizinga’s concept by merging it with Lantz’s and reframed it in terms of semiotics and design. During gameplay, the gamer is invited to embrace the game’s world once she has crossed the membrane of the video-game. In this digital-space, she is met with dreams and fantasy, where she can escape the mundane while meaning is created.
Description: M.A. in Digital Theology
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCPPRChr

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