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

Adult Supervision Encouraged

A review of Rated M for Mature: Sex and Sexuality in Games

rated m for mature

Over the past few years, games have begun to feature sexual content that is increasingly nuanced, and which moves away from the conspicuous treatments that have fueled political outcries in the past. Rated M for Mature seeks to offer a sustained scholarly response to these developments, to foster critical debates of sex in video games, and to push for new considerations and even implementations of sexuality in games. The collection of essays is categorized into three distinct sections: the first, “The (r)evolution of video games and sex”, examines the history of sexual content in video games and the varying political and social responses; the second, “Video games and sexual (dis)embodiment”, explores the use of sex and sexuality in both video game play and practice; the third, “Systems/spaces of sexual (im)possibilities”, considers the interplay between sexual content and game design. Continue Reading

First Person Podcast Episode 10

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

Two women shown standing close together

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