With my third book for the University of Toronto Press now in the hands of my editor I am turning my attention back to my hobby, the ethnography of online military gaming. This will probably culminate in yet another book down the road.

I recently taught a course at the University of Ottawa on online virtual environments, using Celia Pearce's text, Communities of Play: Emergent Cultures in Multiplayer Games and Virtual Worlds. A good introduction to the kind of autoethnographic project I am undertaking here at TacticalGamer.com. Pearce's work highlights a significant difference between the role of avatars in military FPS games and more social games such as Sim City -- an issue to which I will return herein.

Meanwhile, this from the inaugural issue of Games and Culture (Jan 2006):

"the study of gaming is moving from the periphery of scholarly inquiry to take a central position in how we study and theorize social life. I continue to be surprised by the lack of scholarly interest in video games and interactive media more broadly given not only their massive and rapidly increasing impact worldwide but their usefulness for thinking through a range of key questions concerning selfhood and society."
Using TacticalGamer.com as the primary subject, I will probably focus my own study on the issues of virtual community (online cultures), gaming as a learning experience (beyond simply learning how to play the game!), leadership and authority.

I am also interested in answering the question: are military (combat) skills acquired via virtual military gaming?

I'll use this blog to publish my draft notes and observations as feedback from the TacticalGamer.com community will prove to be a valuable part of the ethnographic process.