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Playing in the Participation Age

We express ourselves by publicizing our preferences.

Link: To Get Viewers for Reruns, a ‘Sopranos’ Game - New York Times. 2006-Dec-11, by Mchel Marriott

While big games have proved to be effective promotional tools, Christopher Swain, a professor at the University of Southern California and an expert on game design and online game culture, said these games represented much more. He said they were an outgrowth of the “participation age” — he credited Jonathan I. Schwartz, chief executive of Sun Microsystems, with coining the term — in which millions of people want to join in activities within communities of shared interests. Those active in social networking Web sites like MySpace and Facebook are prime examples, said Mr. Swain, who is co-director of the university’s Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab. “They want to express themselves in a community,” he said. “In this case the community is of people excited about ‘The Sopranos.’ I think it is a natural flowing from this sort of participation age.”