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Games and Culture





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Much research has described the various practices needed of gaining access and participation in multi-user game communities. Cheat sites are a continuation of game communities where players engage in knowledge building about game related challenges. In this paper we analyze the cheat sites created by players for a tween virtual world called, which encourages youth to participate in a range of social activities and play casual science games. Through analysis we created typologies for both the cheats and sites related to science content. Further, a case study of an exemplary cheat site elaborates on how some player generated sites work to build knowledge of Whyville. Finally, investigation of over a hundred player-written articles illuminates how Whyvillians contest different practices of cheating and how cheating affects the virtual world. Implications of these findings as cultural artifacts of the game community and as guides for designing informal online learning activities are discussed.



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