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The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us—And How They Don't
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The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us—And How They Don't

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Proteus, the mythical sea god who could alter his appearance at will, embodies one of the promises of online games: the ability to reinvent oneself. Yet inhabitants of virtual worlds rarely achieve this liberty, game researcher Nick Yee contends. Though online games evoke freedom and escapism, Yee shows that virtual spaces perpetuate social norms and stereotypes from the o ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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4.02  · 
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 ·  112 ratings  ·  12 reviews


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Jamie
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
In this book, researcher and online game lover Nick Yee sets out to explore how the barriers between our online and offline personas tend to blend. Drawing on scientific research done by himself and his colleagues, Yee explores how the assumptions, prejudices, habits, and modes of thought that drive our offline behavior also influence us in massively multiplayer online games. He also looks at the flipside: the influence those games have on how we think and behave even after we step away from the ...more
Moisés
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Uno de los mejores libros de videojuegos que he leído. Nick Yee disecciona la psicología y sociología del juego online y de los mundos virtuales, la manera en que nos traemos al mundo real comportamientos del virtual y viceversa, cómo creamos supersticiones en ellos, su progresiva individualización, sus miserias, lo que aportan a las personas... También derriba mitos que les rodean. Ojalá fuera más largo.

Absolutamente recomendable (está en inglés, pero accesible).
Edwin McRae
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
FINALLY got around to finishing The Proteus Paradox and I'm so glad I did. I can't say that Nick Yee's findings surprised me. I think we see and feel the influences virtual worlds have on us every time we delve into them. Well, we do if you take some time to reflect on our virtual experiences and how we behave within them, and how our real world behavior is effect by them too. But it was nice to have my observations confirmed with bit of solid science. Nice work, Mr Yee.
Becca
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-list-2018
This book made me think about games and virtual worlds in ways I hadn't considered before. Learning about all of the behavioral studies and research that digital worlds have promoted changed how I think of online interaction. Some of it was so new and eye-opening, it frightened me. I think the author does a good job of showing both the optimistic and pessimistic consequences of how virtual worlds can influence social behavior. I started thinking about new questions.
Jack Springheeled
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent and well balanced introduction to the world of MMOs, but lacking in real insight that would make it recommendable to anyone well versed in them.
Matthew Ciarvella
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Too often, those who write about games fall into one of two extremes. Either games are the scourge of humanity and will devour all in their path until culture is nothing more than a smoking ruin . . . or games are the heralds of a coming utopia where racism, sexism, classism, and all other -isms are magically wiped away in a new digital paradise.

The truth, of course, is somewhere in the middle. It usually is. And Nick Yee's book walks that middle ground, neither demonizing nor exalting. It's ref
...more
Chris Chester
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The simplest review of this book is that, having read it, I was left wondering who it was written for in the first place, which is not exactly high praise. I have a background playing and blogging about these games, but have since abandoned the genre completely, so I thought I would have a unique hybrid gamer/general audience perspective on the book.

For gamers, a lot of the writing, particularly early in the book, is derivative and uninteresting explanation of the history of MMOs that probably h
...more
Bert Forsythe
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book made me a believer that playing MMOs was in many ways a dumb, but in some ways a smart decision. I was glad to hear about it because I participated in most iterations of the Daedalus Project (a psych study that is the investigative germ of the book) though sadly I did not find my own input excerpted.

This is a comprehensive account of the strangely curious, fascinatingly deep art of online social interaction. Yee has just about perfect credibility when discussing game worlds, wh
...more
Debby Dietrich
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting look into the phenomenon of online gaming and virtual reality. As an online gamer over decades (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies, World of Warcraft, Star Wars the New Republic), I found the author's insights into virtual worlds and the people who inhabit them insightful. With more of us spending increasing amounts of time online it is worth studying the effects of gaming on the participants and the participants' impact on gaming.
LonelySis4
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly informative

The book is chock-full of stats and experimental conclusions. There are a lot of quotes from real players that give the reader a better understanding of what the author is trying to convey. It lacks a bit of personalization, but it's a great read for people curious about the use of virtual worlds and how it impacts our lives.
Gavin
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
An ok book.. nothing life changing... felt a bit out of date TBH.
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“As male characters level up and become more powerful, their bodies become better protected and covered. In contrast, as female characters level up and become more powerful, their bodies are uncovered and made more vulnerable. Thus, as women gain power, they are disempowered in another way.” 2 likes
“Even if virtual worlds were tabula rasa, we are encumbered with a great deal of cognitive baggage. Our brains are hardwired with many mental shortcuts to help us make sense of the world. We simply do not have the time to carefully process every piece of information that comes our way. To cope with this inundation of information, our brains have developed automated heuristics that filter and preprocess this information for us. Thus, when we encounter new media and technological devices, we fall back on the existing rules and norms we know.” 0 likes
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