Det spillere vil ha. Assassin’s Creeds religiøse miljø - Et dypdykk i Desmondsagaens gamevironment
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This thesis examines the influence of religion on the production and reception of popular video games, using the first five major installments of the Assassin’s Creed video game series as examples. Utilizing a documentary style methodology applying both game-immanent and actor-centered approaches, I describe and analyze the series’ gamevironment, an analytical concept created by Radde-Antweiler, Waltmathe and Zeiler (2014). This comprises two levels: (1) the technical environment of video games and gamers, and (2) the cultural environment of video games and gaming. I discuss how material religion is portrayed and criticized in the Desmond-saga, and how the producers draw upon a culture of conspiracy to create exciting and entertaining products. I argue that profit is more important than artistic freedom for a majority of game developers, and that popular video games therefore are cultural artefacts reflecting the views and ideas of a hypothetical gamer culture. This leads to the conclusion that popular video games reflect what gamers want. Taking advantage of cultural theorist Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model, I declare that gamers are not passive, but active consumers. I provide proof of this by exploring different interpretations of the Desmond-saga in gamers’ comments on the Internet. Whereas most gamers operate within the dominant code, some take negotiated or even oppositional positions. Presenting the views of a minority of gamers, I argue that video game content can be taken very seriously by some consumers, constructing fiction-inspired or fiction-integrating lived religions.