Importance of Humor in Gamer Culture

Shawna Kelly

This paper looks at humor as an important component in the creation of a gamer identity and the gaming community. Meyer (2000) describes the social potential of humor to be both unifying and dividing. Both aspects of humor are used among gamers to promote solidarity, enculturation, and education. Since this community interacts almost exclusively in an online space, a sense of solidarity and unity is essential for the creation of a community. Gamer-generated humor artifacts on multiple media platforms help develop this solidarity through enculturation and education. In the gaming community, humorous artifacts are representative of shared experiences and they create a shared narrative and sense of history. In addition to enculturation, humor artifacts are used by gamers to teach new members acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Humor allows the expression of sentiments that are not normally addressed, due to good manners or other social conventions. By framing negative behaviors in a humorous setting, gamers can highlight shared frustrations within the gaming experience as both an expression of solidarity and as a lesson to newer members. Using textual analysis on several humorous artifacts developed by the gaming community, this paper discusses the unifying and dividing aspects of their humor, and suggests that humor and humor artifacts are integral elements in the production of the gamer identity and the gaming community.

Meyer, J. (2000). Humor as a double-edged sword: Four functions of humor in communication. Communication Theory, 10, pp. 310–331.

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