Manhunt and World of Warcraft

As children, I think it is easy to access the “magic circle” that allows play or games to take on their own reality. First of all, there is little consequence to children’s playful behavior, as others can understand it as ‘play’. But as we grow up, there are expectations and more consequence to behaviour. ‘Play’ is harder to determine within society, because it is less common.  In class, we learned of the man who was hiding in the bushes. He shushes the girl nearby (as he is thoroughly immersed in his game of manhunt) and she is frightened. He realizes that he was understood not as ‘playing’ the game but as a total creeper. These sorts of misconceptions can totally limit the comfort level a person has for playing. It can really disrupt the fun of the game if a player is self conscious of reaction. People don’t want to be embarrassed or misinterpreted, but I believe that everyone still likes to play in some way. This is why I think games like World of Warcraft are so popular. The internet is impersonal, and lets an individual experiment on how to express himself without any repercussions. In World of Warcraft, or other online roleplaying games, there are no consequences to the person behind the character, and they are in a community that expects one to ‘play’. No one will be creeped out when a character comes out of the bushes. I have only tried World of Warcraft once or twice, but understand it as a game that is easy to become completely absorbed in. Not only is the player expected to enter the “magic circle”, but the game becomes the most enjoyable for those who take it as another reality.

You can learn more about World of Warcraft  from their website:



  1. I think the gamespace of something like World of Warcraft gives us a necessary outlet, in exactly the way you describe. A vacation works in a similar manner–because people go somewhere outside of their usual experience, they can indulge in different forms of behavior, from the usual tourist exploration to the running with the bulls in Spain. (Now there’s a game–or is it a ritual?–that plays for keeps!)

  2. The concept of the magic circle as being more enjoyable and effective to players remaining anonymous is interesting. This could be seen as a main difference between real-time and digital gaming. An anonymous player is much more likely to take risks, and disregard social normative. However, this also brings up the argument as to whether these risks are based on real time consequence and if they adhere to normative gaming behaviours (rules, etc), or if they are truly actions involving risk.

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