Player-Character Is What You Are in the Dark: The Phenomenology of Immersion in Dungeons & Dragons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


The idea of role-playing makes some people nervous - even some people who play role-playing games (RPGs). So the idea of immersion is central to understanding how Dungeons Dragons and other aspects of participatory culture work. Phenomenology is a kind of “philosophy of mind” associated with the works of twentieth-century philosophers Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, among others. The domain of phenomenology encompasses the entire range of experiences in the world, paying attention to what Husserl called “intentionality,” or how our consciousness is directed toward particular objects in the world. The fact that this is presented as an atypical approach to play, or at least one that requires some effort, invites us to ask about typical modes of play if visualization of in-game events is not that mode. This chapter concluded by scratch the surface of a complete phenomenological description of role-playing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDungeons & Dragons and Philosophy: Read and Gain Advantage on All Wisdom Checks
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118921166
ISBN (Print)9781118397626
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities

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