Hoarding and community in "Star Wars Card Trader"
Transitioning collectibles from the physical to the digital sphere changes the culture of collecting by increasing the accessibility of trading partners and adding digital limitations on personal interaction. In this analysis, I examine the collecting game Star Wars Card Trader (2015) and its culture of mass hoarding—the collecting of vast quantities of a single, valueless digital object—through which players reintroduce elements of personality, camaraderie, and nonrivalrous collecting into a system designed primarily for anonymous profitable acquisition. Via an analysis of player behaviors both within the game itself and in online venues, I argue that mass hoarding—a user invention—acts as the central community-building behavior in this digital realm. Mass hoarding is thus a clear indication that even in the digital realm, human personalities and relationships are vital to the construction of collecting as a pastime that is more complex than an investment opportunity.
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