I would like to engage in a conversation among peers who work with video games as investigation and learning environments. I am a scholar of religion and I offer a class called “Gaming Religion”. The class has three components. In the first part. we look at three games representing gaming genres where religion is an important part of the cultural landscape and the virtual world of the gaming environment. Students are asked to engage in participant-observation of these cultures online and produce ethnographies. In the second part, we look at religion as imaginative or mental games that evolved to manipulate human cognition and behavior. Practitioners give themselves over to these cultural overlays, on this reading of religion, and develop their own emergent self-representations (avatars) through immersion in the heroic struggles of the religion’s narrative. In the third section of the course, students design their own video game using a multi-agent simulation platform called Netlogo.
The three games used by me at the moment are posted below.