Re-Imagining The Borderlands

A Review of Queer Game Studies

Deshane Queer Game Studies review

There’s a scene that Bonnie Ruberg describes in the final chapter of Queer Game Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), which still resonates long after I finished the work. It’s a scene of the inevitable social banter after a panel discussion at an academic conference where, as Ruberg states, she feels “pressured to either tone down my queerness […] or to perform it” (271). For Ruberg, her queerness is not evident in people’s assumptions of her while also simultaneously too evident in her research in queer gaming. She reminds herself to not mention her ex-girlfriend and to silence her kinkiness; she dresses the professional part to blend in and answers questions about her research with a smile on her face—and yet, she still deals with feelings of being “the weird grad student” and with people’s seemingly never-ending questions of “Queerness? And games?” with a twinge of disgust (272). 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

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