The Trouble with Bodies

A Trans Reading of Nier

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Last year, my friend convinced me to play Nier for the first time. Upon initially booting up the title, it seemed like a typical grimdark male power fantasy with severely floaty controls and a muted, masculine aesthetic. Today, I consider it the only mainstream video game I have played that embodies the trans experience. Over the course of my time with Nier, what at first seemed to be a weak narrative scaffolding attempting to justify fetishized violence transformed into a subversive work of empathic queerness. The game has a series of endings, each building upon the last, culminating in a nuanced network of meaning-making. Through these multiple playthroughs and endings, a cohesive queering of the text emerged in my player experience, with the intersection of my own lived-in qualia of being a trans person and the game’s transgressive body politics acting as the thematic core. What follows is the result of this—a deeply personal close reading of Nier as a triumph of trans narratives. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 10

Press A to Boob: Women's Sexuality in Video Games

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In this Podcast (which is Elise and Emma’s last podcast!) we have a conversation about sex and sexuality in gaming that discusses a lot of topics that don’t really get covered in game studies very often! These topics Include: the difference between in game sexuality and sexualizing characters, the differences between depictions of sexuality in video games and depictions of sexuality in film, sexual awakenings via video games, our first video game crushes, Bioware games, queer representation, and “the gay button”. Furthermore, we wonder if women attracted to women can appropriate or inhabit the male gaze that is so prominent and games and we ask a lot of questions including: why does it feel like there are there so many queer women in game studies? When is sex in videogames sexy? When is it horribly unsexy? Will better graphics make a difference? And, ironically, did videogames make me gay? Continue Reading