The experience of game play can be affected by many things—what hardware or software is used to play the game, what kind of game is being played, whether one is playing with others, and what types of experiences one has while playing the game. This section addresses the latter two elements—the situational and experiential aspect of game play—and explores the social nature of gaming as well as the pro-social and anti-social experiences that gaming with others offers.
Social game play is thought to offer the possibility for youth to have collaborative and interactive experiences, experiences that potentially parallel many real world political and civic activities. Some scholars have suggested that play in groups with others, particularly when working collaboratively toward a common goal (as with guilds and game groups in MMOGs), lays the groundwork for learning how to work with groups toward a common goal in other facets of life, particularly within the workplace and community. In this way gaming provides civic learning experiences—something we discuss in Part 2.
The flip side is the potential in gaming for gamers to observe anti-social behavior. This section explores the prevalence of these kinds of observations, as well as whether others playing the game responded to those anti-social, in-game moments.