Writing New Bodies in Digital Fiction

A significant scholarly and popular media criticism of bodily-focused video games is that they perpetuate harmful body image (Barlett and Harris; Sarkeesian). Yet, game scholars such as Kafai, as well as significant subsets of gaming communities, have argued that the medium can act as a resistance mechanism for heteronormative, racist, and anti-queer sociopolitical influence. In a Western context, gendered notions of appearance in media work to affirm an idealized body image for women, communicating that a body that is not white, able-bodied, thin, toned, and feminine, is, in fact, inferior. Continue Reading

The Language of Gaming

by Astrid Ensslin

Discourse analysis is a fairly new field of study, but one with a very distinguished pedigree, delving deeply into rhetoric and linguistics. Game studies, in comparison, is a relatively new field, but one that has had to fight (or perhaps just “has fought”) fiercely to declare its independence and relevance. In The Language of Gaming, Astrid Ensslin combines the two, detailing over the course of ten chapters how various subsections of discourse analysis can be applied to games and gaming—to the semiotic, textual content of games, and to the discourse and power structures constructed through the discussions of those who play them. As you can imagine with that remit, it’s a rather diverse book, covering everything from how instruction manuals phrase rules to players chatting over a game of Worms 2. By the end, though, Ensslin had me convinced of the value of discourse analysis to game studies… Continue Reading