A Game of Gazes

A Closer Look at Killer Is Dead’s “Gigolo Mode”

Given that Goichi Suda so thoroughly and openly engages in reflexive gaming commentary within his many eclectic works, the generally negative reception with Grasshopper Manufacture’s latest effort Killer Is Dead arrives as a genuine shock. Much of the gaming world’s aversion towards the game stems from its so-called “Gigolo mode,” a minigame that finds its protagonist ogling a potential romantic flame for the promise of sex and a weapon upgrade. Some critics have charged this segment as misogynist, often with reductive analysis that eschews examination below surface level. Obviously, representing sex in games remains a serious issue that the medium has frequently struggled with. Continue Reading

Playing with Identity

Otherness & Sexuality in The Witcher 2

One of the ironies of writing a Game Studies dissertation is that after a while, there isn’t really time to play any games. At some point I had to focus all my attention on writing and just get it over with. So once I finished writing, my “to-play” list had grown quite large. As a fan of “open-world” games, I was looking for a game that I could lose myself in for dozens of hours. I asked around, and a friend recommended CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I picked it up and overall, I’m glad I did. Although it didn’t really satisfy my open-world itch, I found it to be a robust and rich experience. It’s also one of the few games where I was more compelled by the narrative than the “gameplay,” if the two can be separated. For this commentary, I’d like to give my thoughts on its narrative, and then more specifically, on its representations of otherness and sexuality. Continue Reading