When attempting to calculate the vastness of unfinished space, story and time in World of Warcraft, one will discover no method of measurement can truly weigh the expanse of content nor size the borders of this social phenomenon.


Lunenfeld’s understanding of the unfinished within the digital world is tied up in unfinished space, unfinished story and unfinished time. The gaming world, in particular, World of Warcraft, encompass these concepts of “unfinished.” Tied at the center of this unfinishedness is the player. With unfinished space, story and time within World of Warcraft along with themes steeped in folklore and mythology, it is understandable the sense of immortality a player feels when gaming. Gamers, like the Einherjar of Norse mythology, find themselves battling for hours and at the end of the battles, socializing with fellow warriors about the accomplished feats of the day. The Einherjar, selected from the dead on battlefields by Odin’s valkyries, became immortal. On a daily basis, they slew one another and were resurrected at the end of the day, all of this in preparation for Ragnarök. Even the name “Einherjar” resonates with the concept of players’ status within World of Warcraft. Einherjar has two common definitions: lone fighters (Wikipedia: Einherjar 2009) and "those who are all [now] in one army" (when alive they were in many armies, but now as dead belong to one army) (AllExperts: Einherjar 2009). World of Warcraft players either play alone or together in groups to accomplish quests, raids, instances or battlegrounds, and upon death, resurrect to play again.

Phase Space

One aspect of World of Warcraft that is not discussed in the body of this paper but is just is prevalent, is World of Warcraft’s phase space. There is a plethora of transmedia that spans fiction, fan fiction, fan art, proxy agencies (help websites), twitter feeds, Facebook groups, blogs and machinima. These transmedia aspects are familiar to other multimedia literacies however; machinima is a gaming specific transmedia. Machinima is “the use of real-time three-dimensional graphics rendering engines to generate computer animation” (Wikipedia: Machinima 2009), or in other words, gamers take pictures or video clips of their runs and create a video out of them. Originally, these clips were used to document in-game play for other players to analyze in order to level faster, however machinamas have developed into featuring stunts, storylines or just dancing (Wikipedia: Machinima 2009). A youtube clip called, The Brothers Tauren, is one such example.

Natal Project

True to the unfinished form of computers, gaming technology is always advancing. The desire to dissolve barriers that separate the player from the game world is in constant development. Development is based on “ a desire for a corporeal immersion with technology, a will to envelop the player in technology and the environment of the game space” (Lahti 2003 p.159). With the future release of the Natal Project 2009, this may one day be a reality. Natal Project is a gaming system that is controller-free, meaning; no hand held devices are needed to play games. Everything is done through motion detectors found at the bottom of the screen. A user simply makes the hand or body motions to play the games or move objects about on the screen (Buchanan 2009). This piece of gaming technology will affect all matters pertaining to gaming – everything from physical form of the player to interaction with games.

The Library

Ultimately, the library should be a place where unfinished space, story and time in World of Warcraft or any other gaming can be explored. There are several reasons why games/videogames should be found in the library. There are benefits in social gaming such as “playing videogames together can provide teenagers with opportunities for bonding, learning anger management and nurture democratic values” (Levine 2009 p.9). Youth playing videogames together “encourages appropriate groups to begin researching and structuring those experiences in order to maintain democratic participation in the larger local, national, and global communities” (Levine 2009 p.11). Gaming is a way libraries can connect with the twenty- and thirty- somethings (p.19). Before a library can implement a gaming program or event, a “well-planned, goal-oriented approach” must be taken “in order to justify using public resources for gaming” (p.22). Providing a policy for gaming groups helps to provide that focus. In the case of the Denver Public Library, the goal of providing gaming to children and teen groups is to create comfortable in accessing other parts of the library (Denver Public Library 2009). For the University of North Texas, their Media Library is circulating Wii, PS3 and XBox 360 videogames, gaming consoles and gaming accessories, and they provide an easily accessible borrowing policy for students (University of North Texas 2010). Gaming is not just a matter of entertainment but "it can further engage the library and its patrons with their community" (Levine 2010).

With gaming becoming a newly acquired service at public libraries, the space, narrative and time of this medium has yet to be fully explored. Libraries just introducing the service will have to play catch up to meet the needs of users familiar and unfamiliar with the medium. Additionally, the areas of space, narrative and time become endless with the contineous introduction of new technology and new user groups.

Written by ANBecker. This project is adapted from the final paper for the LIS 585 Multimedia Literacy for the LIS 600 Capping Exercise. March 9th 2010.