Treacherous Play

by Marcus Carter

by Marcus Carter

Available now from MIT Press, and in Open Access.

Deception and betrayal in gameplay are generally considered off-limits, designed out of most multiplayer games. There are a few games, however, in which deception and betrayal are allowed, and even encouraged. In Treacherous Play, Marcus Carter explores the ethics and experience of playing such games, offering detailed explorations of three games in which this kind of “dark play” is both lawful and advantageous: EVE Online, DayZ, and the television series Survivor. Examining aspects of games that are often hidden, ignored, or designed away, Carter shows the appeal of playing treacherously.

“A fascinating study in nontraditional game design. Marcus Carter’s Treacherous Play includes some of the best writing about EVE Online yet published, investigating the inherent darkness of its design and the effect on its community.”
Andrew Groen, author of Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online

“To succinctly summarize what made DayZ a phenomenon is difficult, but Marcus Carter’s description of human nature and interaction captures the premise brilliantly.”
Dean Hall, creator of DayZ

“As the importance of our virtual presence grows in our increasingly online world, Treacherous Play sheds light on why good people do bad things online.”
Keith Harrison, formerly known as Endie; EVE Online spymaster and former member of the CSM.