Date of Award

December 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

W W Wood

Second Advisor

Thomas M Malaby

Committee Members

Betina Arnold, Kalman Applbaum


British Isles, consoliday, Scotland, tourism, video game, videogame tourism


Video game tourism is in its infancy but growing in popularity. This dissertation is an anthropological study of gamers’ attempts to interact with the physical environments in Scotland that influenced the virtual landscapes to which they have an emotional connection. Seven of the locations I identified as potential field sites provided some form of ethnographic material. I traveled with gamers to these seven sites. While at these sites, I observed and interviewed people that I met as well as did participant observations with those I went with. This project was able to demonstrate that gamers and tourists alike attempt to reach toward an unencumbered self but this process is fraught with obligations and is typically unattainable. Whether those obligations or encumbrances are created before or during their travels, there is always an underlying sense of connectivity that makes a complete break from the sociocultural world impossible.Nostalgia is the driving force behind reenactments of precious memories so it is no wonder that gamers who feel a strong connection to their virtual worlds would attempt to recreate those memories through interactions with the physical landscape that shape their virtual worlds. This dissertation demonstrates that while setting out to reenact specific nostalgic moments is one of the motivations for gaming tourists, they have a cyclical relationship with nostalgia. Once they return from their physical journeys to the virtual environment, they are hit with another form of nostalgic reenactment. Gaming tourism is a new phenomenon that allows for gamers to give in to their nostalgic sentiments and recursively represent their identities as gamers in a more public fashion through recreating scenes from the game within the physical landscape.