Space, Navigation, and Queerness in Gone Home; or Toward a Queer Spatiality

Kennedy Cover Image

The house’s spatial design mimics moments of secrecy and Foucauldian confession in interpersonal relationships; that is, things are only hidden in order to be discovered (Foucault 20-1). This is maybe most apparent in the game’s map mechanic, in which spaces are revealed only after they have been discovered in-game by the player. The map indicates which rooms have yet to be explored, but does not reveal the purpose of unexplored rooms. This continues to do the work of de- and re-familiarizing the player with the domestic space as well as creating a drive to explore the house and “collect” all the rooms. This mechanic is not unique to Gone Home, and is particularly common in first-person horror games. It’s one of many horror mechanics and tropes used in the game—perhaps because in this sense, the work of making something queer is similar to the work of making something creepy or uncanny. Both work to make that which should be familiar unfamiliar. Continue Reading

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