RPG Research Rundown

This is the weekend of Ropecon 2021, virtual for the second year in a row. As there have been a lot of role-playing game studies books coming out in the past few years, we felt we needed an excuse to catch up, and thus was born the clunkily and slightly inaccurately named “Jukka Särkijärvi and Evan Torner Chat About Recent RPG Monographs” (there’s one book there that’s not a monograph).

I was also asked for a bibliography, so here’s the books we covered, the books we mentioned, and the books we obliquely hinted at in the program description by mystifying references like “Bowman (2010)”. You can find the International Journal of Role-Playing here, Analog Game Studies here, and as a bonus, the Japanese Journal of Analog Role-Playing Game Studies here.

Of course, accessibility is always an issue, especially when dealing with academic publishers who price their stuff for institutions, not private individuals. Some we bought, some we received straight from the authors, some we wrested from the jealous grasp of university libraries. DriveThruRPG carries a lot of the McFarland books, but not all of them. Some are entirely or partially free downloads, and I have linked to those. I can only wish the best of luck to those embarking on the same journey.

Bowman, Sarah Lynne. 2010. The Functions of Role-Playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems, and Explore Identity. McFarland. Link.

Carbonell, Curtis D. 2019. Dread Trident: Tabletop Role-Playing Games and the Modern Fantastic. Liverpool University Press. Link.

Deterding, Sebastian and José Zagal. 2019. Role-Playing Game Studies: A Transmedia Approach. Routledge. Link. Open access articles.

Fine, Gary Alan. 1983. Shared Fantasy: Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds. University of Chicago Press. Link.

Grouling Cover, Jennifer. 2010. The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games. McFarland. Link.

Hedge, Stephanie and Jennifer Grouling. 2021. Roleplaying Games in the Digital Age: Essays on Transmedia Storytelling, Tabletop RPGs and Fandom. McFarland. Link.

Henriksen, Thomas Duus, Christian Bierlich, Kasper Friis Hansen, and Valdemar Kølle (eds.). 2011. Think Larp. Rollespilsakademiet. Download.

Jones, Shelly (ed.). 2021. Watch Us Roll: Essays on Actual Play and Performance in Tabletop Role-Playing Games. McFarland. Link.

Kamm, Björn-Ole. 2020. Role-Playing Games of Japan: Transcultural Dynamics and Orderings. Palgrave Macmillan. Link.

Loponen, Mika. 2019. The Semiospheres of Prejudice in the Fantastic Arts: The Inherited Racism of Irrealia and Their Translation. PhD thesis, University of Helsinki. Download.

Mackay, Daniel. 2001. The Fantasy Role-Playing Game: A New Performing Art. McFarland. Link.

Mizer, Nicholas J. 2019. Tabletop Role-Playing Games and the Experience of Imagined Worlds. Palgrave Macmillan. Link.

Mochocki, Michał. 2021. Role-play as a Heritage Practice: Historical Larp, Tabletop RPG and Reenactment. Link.

Montola, Markus and Jaakko Stenros (eds.). 2008. Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games. Ropecon ry. Download.

Montola, Markus and Jaakko Stenros (eds.). 2010. Nordic Larp. Fëa Livia. Download.

Peterson, Jon. 2020. The Elusive Shift. MIT University Press. Link.

Saitta, Eleanor, Johanna Koljonen and Jukka Särkijärvi (eds.). What Do We Do When We Play? Ropecon ry. Open access articles.

Schallegger, René Reinhold. 2019. The Postmodern Joy of Role-Playing Games: Agency, Ritual and Meaning in the Medium. McFarland. Link.

Seregina, Usva. 2016. Performing Fantasy and Reality. PhD thesis, Aalto University. Download.

Seregina, Usva. 2018. Performing Fantasy and Reality in Contemporary Culture. Routledge. Link.

White, William J. 2020. Tabletop RPG Design in Theory and Practice at the Forge, 2001–2012: Designs and Discussions. Palgrave Macmillan. Link.

Williams, J. Patrick, Sean Q. Hendricks, and W. Keith Winkler (eds.). 2006. Gaming as Culture: Essays on Reality, Identity and Experience in Fantasy Games. McFarland. Link.

Additionally, I have been working on a series of articles for the Loki role-playing webzine about many of these books. Only in Finnish, I’m afraid.

1 thought on “RPG Research Rundown

  1. Pingback: Teori-innblikk # 20 – ropeblogi

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