3-1 | Virtual Playgrounds?


Virtual Playgrounds?
Assessing the Playfulness of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games

Kerrie Lewis Graham


Millions of children and adults devote much of their leisure time to playing massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Most observers commonly categorize computer games as a play activity, but this article asks whether MMORPGs contain activities that might not be play. The author examines the phenomenon of online gaming and compares it with several common characteristics and criteria of play behavior. This analysis suggests that while most participant involvement in MMORPGs seems to be play, in some cases, addiction may be an alternative explanation for some of the activities.