Identification or Desire?

Taking the Player-Avatar Relationship to the Next Level

Essay - IdentificationDesire

Bringing queer theory and game studies into conversation with each other, I will argue here that queer desire is the fundamental structure of the player-avatar relationship so often mischaracterized by the notion of identification. If we are to accept the argument sketched out below, that sexual attraction is a motivating factor in like-sex player-avatar relationships, then we must also accept that a great deal of digital gameplay is motivated by queer desire. This means that queer sexualities are not simply invited into gameplay and gamespace, but rather that they already occupy, covertly, a critical position within games and game cultures that enables the possible subversion and transgression of the masculinity and heteronormativity that overtly characterize games and gaming. Continue Reading