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A Challenge to the Duel: Socializing Dedicated Virtual Reality Fans to the Ideology of Textualism
Unformatted Document Text:  A Challenge to the Duel 23 technologically sophisticated – many often use cellular phones or walkie talkies to coordinate with team members during games – they have developed a community around their interaction with this technology. Their ideology of textualism helps them to bond with other fans that have also received the same education. Second, social actors also coordinate multimedia. This, too, is an example of the social influence on a technology. Multimedia, the simultaneous presence of more than one technology, requires coordination in ways that will make sense to others. The most advanced players learned to integrate role playing, novels, and other texts into their experience at the entertainment center. In fact it was this coordination of texts, such as the pilot's code and smack talk, that showed others the competency of their performances. The initiation of a game through smack talk required that players be conversant with the genre of verbal dueling, the props of the BattleTech universe, and the spoken and unspoken rules. In examining technology diversity, the relationship between technology and language is particularly interesting given the fact that the material is foregrounded in typical technology studies. Popular culture is a particularly generative environment for examining technological diversity from a social perspective because of the possibilities of expression when the poetic function is emphasized. NOTES 1 I attended a BattleTech and Red Planet tournament held in Cincinnati, OH, on October 5-8, 2000. Over the weekend, 62 people from around the country, and one man who had traveled from Japan, participated in the general event and competed in one or more of the BattleTech or Red Planet events. During the weekend, I conducted a quantitative survey. This survey asked players about BattleTech and Red Planet and the competency needed to play these virtual reality games. Thirty-six people responded to the survey. Some questions from the survey were from a 1991 survey of BattleTech players in Chicago and could be used for comparative purposes. All of the respondents were then invited to participate in a follow-up interview, which was qualitative in format. The follow-up interviews, of which there were 16, were conducted through email questionnaires, with an additional response-and-reply for clarifications or expansions on one or more points. In addition, I have interviewed several executives of Virtual World and a person directly involved with special events. Virtual World provided me with all of the planning documents

Authors: Tew, Chad.
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A Challenge to the Duel
23
technologically sophisticated – many often use cellular phones or walkie talkies to
coordinate with team members during games – they have developed a community around
their interaction with this technology. Their ideology of textualism helps them to bond
with other fans that have also received the same education. Second, social actors also
coordinate multimedia. This, too, is an example of the social influence on a technology.
Multimedia, the simultaneous presence of more than one technology, requires
coordination in ways that will make sense to others. The most advanced players learned
to integrate role playing, novels, and other texts into their experience at the entertainment
center. In fact it was this coordination of texts, such as the pilot's code and smack talk,
that showed others the competency of their performances. The initiation of a game
through smack talk required that players be conversant with the genre of verbal dueling,
the props of the BattleTech universe, and the spoken and unspoken rules. In examining
technology diversity, the relationship between technology and language is particularly
interesting given the fact that the material is foregrounded in typical technology studies.
Popular culture is a particularly generative environment for examining technological
diversity from a social perspective because of the possibilities of expression when the
poetic function is emphasized.
NOTES
1
I attended a BattleTech and Red Planet tournament held in Cincinnati, OH, on October 5-8, 2000. Over
the weekend, 62 people from around the country, and one man who had traveled from Japan, participated in
the general event and competed in one or more of the BattleTech or Red Planet events. During the
weekend, I conducted a quantitative survey. This survey asked players about BattleTech and Red Planet
and the competency needed to play these virtual reality games. Thirty-six people responded to the survey.
Some questions from the survey were from a 1991 survey of BattleTech players in Chicago and could be
used for comparative purposes. All of the respondents were then invited to participate in a follow-up
interview, which was qualitative in format. The follow-up interviews, of which there were 16, were
conducted through email questionnaires, with an additional response-and-reply for clarifications or
expansions on one or more points. In addition, I have interviewed several executives of Virtual World and a
person directly involved with special events.
Virtual World provided me with all of the planning documents


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