Intersexionality and the Undie Game

Harrer cover image

Fun. When game designers and scholars talk about it, we tend to treat it as the singular, universal product of all successful gameplay scenarios. What’s fun and what isn’t, however, arises from our situated experience as embodied, gendered beings situated within a specific cultural context. In this essay – half game post-mortem, half academic poem – I explore what fun might mean by drawing on queer subjectivity. I call this lens “intersexionality,” invoking Kimberlé Crenshaw’s (1989) notion of intersectionality to describe queer gameplay experiences beyond game industry standards. Continue Reading

Dimensions of Identity in Games

A Review of Gaming at the Edge by Adrienne Shaw

gaming at the edge

I have never identified as a ‘gamer’. I transitioned from casual to serious player in the months just prior to the drastic increase of online harassment campaigns, and the fierce attacks against diversity that characterized them. The toxic, sexist rhetoric that spread across gaming communities seems to have tainted the label of ‘gamer’ in my eyes. Of course, this movement did not go unopposed, and the calls for increased representations of diversity in video games have been numerous and vehement. An essential addition to this conversation is Adrienne Shaw’s book Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture. Gaming at the Edge offers an ethnographic study that explores the ways members of marginalized groups engage with video games, how the ability to identify with the characters represented in games shapes this engagement, and argues that ongoing conversations about diversity in games should be reframed to account for the intersectional nature of identity. Continue Reading

Videogames, Queerness, & Beyond

Dispatches from the 2014 Queerness & Games Conference

Special Issue - QGCon

Why talk about queerness when we talk about videogames? Queerness is a form of sexuality, but it is also a mode of thinking, of living, of feeling: differently. When we talk about queerness in videogames, we are talking about fair and equal representation of LGBTQ characters, but we are also talking about queer theory, about queer design, and about queer play. We need to talk about queerness in videogames because we need games and the way to approach them to reflect the full richness of the many ways we each live, love, and desire. Continue Reading