I have always been an avid gamer and spent a lot of time playing MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games). As I advanced in my anthropological studies, I realized I could combine my love of these virtual worlds with my interest in humans and culture.
I used to maintain a website that had reflections and information on MMOs I had experienced. It can still be visited at http://www.mmo.virtualmatt.net
This is my paper from my senior year of undergraduate at SUNY Potsdam. I conducted ethnographic research in the virtual worlds of Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2. I specifically looked at how users create their avatars and what their avatars mean to them by conducting interviews with players in both worlds. A shorter version of this paper was also published in the Collegiate Anthropologist
The New Virtual World Order (2015)
This was my thesis project while attending University at Buffalo. My adviser was Dr. Klaits. It focuses on the evolution of virtual worlds and the differences present in “Theme park” and “Sand box” virtual worlds. It demonstrates how sand box worlds offer us a better look into the idea of modernity in virtual worlds.