Publication Details

This article was originally published as Johnson, NF, Exchanging online narratives for leisure: A legitimate learning space, International Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society, 7(1), 2009, 15-27.


The Story Exchange section of the Sims 2 website offers Sims 2 players a forum to read andreview other players’ original stories which they have written while playing The Sims 2. This article draws on interview data from Sarah, a 15-year-old female involved in reading and evaluating these online stories. Analysis of Sarah’s experiences in playing The Sims 2 and using the Story Exchange website suggest that players who engage with these particular online narratives determine quality indicators of the stories, without guidance or instruction from external structures or authorities. Following this point, this Story Exchange is presented not only as an avenue of leisure, pleasure and informal learning, but one that is out of alignment with structures and institutions of formal schooling. This article argues that sites such as these should be read as legitimate learning spaces.