Monday, March 28, 2016

week 6 Women as background decoration part 1

    Women are largely used as sexual objects within video game play. Misogynistic, sexist and violent representation for women in videogames is the norm in our society. There are probably too many games to name that continue to over sexualize women and use them as decoration, instead of interesting, complex, and intelligent characters that you can use for game play. This virtual realm is an absolute depiction of our patriarchal culture and how these dominant ideologies influence and dictate how women are treated and represented within reality and games. I get frustrated at times when people say there is no need for more diverse representation in videogames, more women are playing video games than ever before and yet we’re still not fairly being represented in the proper way.  Too many games fall under the dominant discourses and its hard to find a game with a leading female character that isn’t overly sexualized or manipulated in someway. This concept of women being background decoration is literally everywhere in popular media and culture. Sexual objectification happens to women all the time in advertisements and commercials to sell products, and it perpetuates the idea that women are objects instead of actual human beings with thoughts and feelings.

Nicole Connolly

Midterm reflection

The idea that hiring more women within the gaming design industry alone will fix the issues with representation is much too simple for the real problem at hand. Even if gaming is a virtual reality, this does not mean this realm is excluded from dominant societal issues within the United States. Though I am extremely happy that more women are going into the gaming field and finally being allowed more positions, this does not mean there aren’t road blocks within these institutions to align with dominant ideologies. I did just see recently that statistically more women are actually playing video games than men nowadays, yet we still have this stereotype that gaming is for straight white guys. The problem with thinking that representation within games can be solved as easily as hiring more women within the industry is assuming that, A, all women are feminists, or B, they are very aware of feminist issues. Also, this suggests that the men within this industry are not capable of creating anything other than things that align with themselves or their over sexualized fantasies. I believe that the whole system has to be revamped with a feminist lens, if people aren’t aware of difference or willing to try and be understanding of others experiences, then the continuation of the same norms within games will continue. There is no good enough reason that all different types of people aren’t allowed fair representation within games. The continued thinking that marginalized groups aren’t relatable or interesting enough perpetuates this Black or White mentality, when really people are much more complex and fluid than the dominant discourse displays, especially within games. There is a spectrum of people out there that have many intersectionalities, which deserve to be heard, understood and normalized. All of these issues are due to dominant ideologies/discourses within our culture that helps perpetuate the norm and continues to allow the creation of games that are hyper masculine, hetero-normative, misogynistic, and homophobic. More diverse people need to be involved within the gaming industry, not just women, and the people that do align with the dominant norms need to become allies of marginalized groups and work towards diversifying videogames within the future.

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Game Analysis Dys4ia week 9 blog

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Oculus Rift out Today

The Oculus Rift launches today.  The device promises to make gaming and other virtual experiences more immersive.

Mashable review

Check out this article on "Body Swapping"

Sunday, March 27, 2016

80's Arcade Games!!

1980's game night is April 4th.
Bring links and/or your favorite games from the 1980's.

Friday, March 25, 2016


Hi Corinne-
Hope you're enjoying this rainy Friday. Just had a question in regards to grades/where we stand in the class. Will you be posting midterm grades? Thanks.


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Game Analysis Blog

Assignment:  Analyze game using this format.  Be ready to present your findings to class.
BLOG:  upload your narrative/counter narrative analysis to the blog (red block!)

see syllabus and also...

Monday, March 21, 2016


email Corinne if she missed something!

Tampon Run

It was hard trying to pick a game to play. I eventually chose Tampon Run- basically because I'm a girl and thought I could connect to it-if that makes any sense. Tampon Run definitely falls under the counter narrative category. After playing the game a couple of times I definitely got thinking of the message that lies behind this game. Your menstrual cycle and the taboo that lies behind it are such "sore" subjects. No one ever wants to talk about someone on their period-they think it's gross; but in reality, its life. The two teenagers who invented this game waned to get the message across to normalize one's menstrual cycle. Because of the title I am sure it only catches girls attention-but that does not mean boys or men cannot play it. I think it would actually get the message across better if both genders, male and females play Tampon Run. Everyone in today's society needs to learn the education behind tampons and the acceptance of them. 
The player is a little girl who is being attacked by boys. She must hit them with tampons before they reach her and gather box of tampons. Instead of attacking your enemy with a gun or weapon, you are using a tampon. That is such a great idea. For example as an audience we learn, "It's to challenge the idea that in society, we're more comfortable with guns and violence than we are with teaching girls to be comfortable with their bodies." It's so crazy that one can be more comfortable with a weapon, that hurts people verses a tampon which in reality "help" people. Inventors of Tampon Run wanted to limit the "guilt" behind one having your period. People seem to be so ashamed and timid when they are on their period or if it comes up in everyday conversation, they hate to talk about it. It shouldn't be like this. This is why Tampon Run was created. I believe it was created to make people feel comfortable about themselves and their body. People should openly discuss their period and the use of tampons. Instead of hiding tampons and pretend that your menstrual cycle or tampons don't exist, this was made for one to feel comfortable and accept this part of life. They are trying to close this gender gap- as to why I think they have boys as the enemies. Not only is Tampon Run making girl feel comfortable, but I also think they are trying to relay the message to boys as well. 
Tampon Run did a great job getting the message across that menstruation is important. It's funny how people can talk about guns and weapons being so normal when menstruation is much more normal than guns and weapons but hardly talked about. Menstruation makes up a large portion of a women's life and Tampon Run reflects and has this social impact that menstruation should have. 


Tampon Run is definitely a counter narrative. I almost wanted to choose a different game after I finished my first round (and did horribly!), but then I thought more about the game and this assignment and I realized there was no need. I think the reason I wanted to switch was because the game itself was so easy, but the message was so much more than the game. I have been researching menstrual taboos for a couple of classes which is probably why I chose this game in the first place. To begin, I love that this game was designed by two young girls who are sick of the stigma about periods. To summarize the game, the only playable character is a little girl who is being attacked by boys on the ground and flying. You must hit them with tampons before they reach you while also collecting boxes of tampons to use against your enemies. The intended audiences is not limited to girls but certainly engages them with the title “Tampon run”. Because of the stigma, i'm sure this title will discourage many boys from playing and therefore receiving the message. This is represented in the game itself, I don’t believe it was accidental that the enemy is boys at all. In a way I see the tampon as a metaphor for normalizing menstruation around those of the opposite sex. It is accessible to the masses because it is free, it isn’t limited to people with expensive gaming consoles, and is simple enough to where anyone can play. The only drawbacks that i can see is that, you can’t change the way you look as the playable character and we are assuming all boys are an enemy. Which of course we know it not the case, women have been known to shame other women, in fact it is usually our mothers who teach us how to hide our periods and to stress how secretive it must be, thus perpetuating the stigma.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tampon Run

I would say the game fits into a counter narrative discourse. The main reason is due to the use of tampons instead of guns. The two young teenagers who created the game wanted to use tampons since they are given a negative connotation to them anyways. This game made tampons into weapons that could be used against people, which is kind of funny in my opinion. It's like the creators are making fun of boys who get scared whenever they see a tampon or even hear the word used, but don't even bat an eye when the topic of guns comes up. Women are taught that periods are a taboo topic and shouldn't be spoken about in public. Periods are a part of human nature and should be treated the same as say, going to the bathroom. It shouldn't be an embarrassing topic. Women are rarely seen bringing tampons or pads to the bathroom with them, even though we know they do. They instead try to hide them. Im sure almost every girl in this class has hid their tampon up their sleeve while going to the bathroom at least once. Society has taught us that it isn't okay to show our tampons to others. We must make sure that no one else sees them! The game Tampon Run wanted to change this. The creators wanted to open up the conversation about periods and tampons. They wanted to make this game so a young girl wouldn't be ashamed about having to bring a tampon to the bathroom with her during school. As the article says, "it's to challenge the idea that in society, we're more comfortable with guns and violence than we are with teaching girls to be comfortable with their bodies".

Regina LaPietra

Dys4ia Analysis

    This game most definitely supports a socially unpopular counter narrative. When it comes to gender, the United States really only validates two genders, male and female. Player one in this game is a transgender female, born with male anatomy but is in the process of transitioning to female. The transgender community is almost never included or talked about in games, unless they are poorly treated prostitutes. This game however is very different, it starts at the beginning of the transition process. Walking the player through daily issues people who are transgender may have to deal with like shaving, using public bathrooms and interacting with family and the community. It continues by giving the player different tasks like choosing a doctor, paying for hormones and other medical and social challenges. The game displays very real issues the transgender community experiences, even the issues around being addressed by the correct pronouns. The game involves simple controls, only the arrows keys are used to work through the game. These controls give player one very limited options, which again symbolizes the issues the transgender community faces. There are not enough options for them concerning their own bodies and possible treatments. This game is very different from traditional games, as its purpose is less about entertainment and more about the process of educating people on some of the issues the transgender community faces in a gaming outlet.


Emily Castonguay 


This game is counter narrative in that this is some of the journey of a person who is transgender and trying to cross over and some of the challenges that come with making that choice. The game is individualized to one person's experience and not generalized making it a more personal. This games gives a very specific view of someone through a voyeuristic point of view that is interactive. There is no win/lose, it is just going through the experiences the character who is opting for hormone therapy The voices of transgender folks although has more voices is still vastly underrepresented especially in the game world but this game gives the space to be able to have talking points.


September 12

“September 12” is very much a counter narrative. From the name alone I figured it would have something to do with the September 11th, bombing attacks and I figured it was going to be about American troops. In reality, it was about bombing a Middle Eastern town and watching the destruction unfold on the people that live there. As soon as you start the game it starts off by telling you how much it is not a game and how it’s a simulation, something that can happen or has happened. And you can either choose to shoot or not to shoot. There are men walking around with guns, these are the terrorists, and the rest of the town is full of pedestrians, simply walking around and minding their own business. When you shoot, you hear the guns charging up and watch as a missile heads towards the buildings and explode on impact. The bodies of those around it, whether they had guns or whether they were innocent bystanders, remain and other characters begin to surround them. You can literally hear the sobs of those surrounding the dead bodies. This game isn’t the narrative we’re given. We’re given the narrative that when America bombs other countries, we do it to fight off the terrorists, we’re never really told all of the innocent lives that are lost along the way. You don’t hear about the parents who lose their children or the children who lose parents because it doesn’t help build this idea that our war is good and necessary.  This game tells this story of the devastation that every attack that has been issued in Iraq and Afghanistan has just left millions devastated exactly like the attacks on 9/11 had done to America. This game just goes to illustrate the issues with war and the effects that aren’t reported to us each and every day.


Dys4ia vs. Win/Loss States

For this analysis I chose Dys4ia. I would argue that the game goes against counter narratives by providing an autobiographical account of a trans person's life, something which you certainly don't see too often in popular media (particularly games). The telling of this story is the main focus of the game, and it utilizes game mechanics in order to engage the player in similar experiences to those of the developer. This is something that you certainly don't see in many games, as there are a lot of games that are not really "experiences" as they are arcade-y games (which isn't a bad thing, but games have struggled to generate meaningful experiences even when they try to). The story presented in this game is certainly one that is not seen in many pieces of media, and also presents trans people as more than jokes, like many "comedy" films or even GTA seem to do.

One thing that stood out to me, especially considering the article "Games You Can't Win," is that this game does not really focus on win/loss states (though you still have to "progress" through the game in some manner). Rather, the game presents a series of vignettes that the player "experiences" interactively. It is interesting that many people, including my brother, consider this a bad thing, and say that it makes the product "not a game." But that sentiment is incredibly exclusive in terms of what games are allowed to be and do. Games can do more that stick to spacial genres (driving, shooting, platforming, etc.). Developers are now figuring out how to take the mechanics of the game and turn them into something that the player experiences, much in the same way that a movie can make a character seem isolated based on their position in the frame. In this way, Dys4ia continues to go against dominant media by generating an emotional experience for players rather than a spacial one (and uses space to further this, as well).

Digression: there are two pretty great videos on the question of "what is a game" if anyone is interested: - Extra Credits - Errant Signal

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia fits into the counter narrative discourse because it is an autobiographical piece of experimental interactive art that deals with topics of sexuality, gender identity/dysphoria, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). These topics are not often depicted by the dominant narrative, and transgender representation is not often depicted in media of any kind. The game is separated into four sections titled “Gender Bullshit,” “Medical Bullshit,” “Hormonal Bullshit,” and “It Gets Better?” and the player interacts with the game text by using the arrow keys to progress through the narrative. This game subverts traditional notions of video game mechanics because Dys4ia is essentially an interactive artistic narrative rather than a game with a win/lose dichotomy.  Dys4ia subverts the dominant narrative by serving as a platform for Anthropy to convey her experiences with gender dysphoria and HRT. Because transgender perspectives are still largely absent from dominant media, the game’s mere existence is an example of its place in the counter narrative discourse. A game that provides a trans woman’s perspectives on misgendering, self-confidence, gender identity, and other issues is inherently subversive simply because transgender people are so often silenced. Many people do not know any transgender people or ever encounters these types of issues in their day to day lives, so this game helps to foster thought and conversation by introducing these topics in a more personal and nuanced way.

Tampon Run

The game Tampon Run is definitely a counter narrative because it is a fun game that involves the taboos of menstruation and tampons.  In the beginning the creators talk about how the "taboo that surrounds it teaches women that a normal and natural bodily function is embarrassing and crude."  So the purpose of the game is to throw tampons at your enemies (the boys) as they are running at you because if they run into you, they will steal your tampons.  The creators admit that it is a weird concept for a game but they also say "it's stranger that our society has accepted and normalized guns and violence through video games, yet we still find tampons and menstruation unspeakable."  So, this game is their way of making people think about menstruation, not as just a taboo, but as a normal and natural thing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Midterm Blog Post

Question 3.  How does critically looking at videogame(s) highlight flaws in our current society?

            Videogames often reflect real life values and morals in order to connect with its players. Unfortunately the majority of designers create games targeted for the stereotypical game consumer. The white, middle class, heterosexual male which we know statistically, does not actually make up the majority of videogame players anymore. However these stereotypical games continue to be made because we continue to buy them. The supporting argument for these sexist, racist and heteronormative games is frequently “it’s only a game, why do you have to analyze it?”.

            Well it may “just be a game” but designers are portraying real life situations and real life injustices in a desensitizing way. Players become desensitized to the brutal and unjust treatment of women and minorities in games because it is currently a common theme across games. It is a common theme in games because it is a common reality in our society. Games like “Grand Theft Auto”, “God of War” and “Fallout” have further pushed the polar opposite characteristics of genders in gaming. Commonly creating player one as the dominant white male, who has power and control over the female and minority characters. But wait that sounds familiar… We live in a society majority ruled by white males, who have power and control over female and minority citizens… But “it’s only a game”.

            Values and morals that reflect our current society are often hidden in games, appearing to be just another part of the game. But the designers had to purposefully include those aspects; like racism and sexism, they did not just appear in the game on their own. Designers create games that they think will sell, and when racist and sexist games continue to sell year after year, that tells us something about game consumers.

            Not only are games designed to include sexist and racist themes, those beliefs carry over to the some of the real life players as well. The majority of game designers are male, and many think they have power over the culture of gaming. That the culture of gaming is theirs to design, theirs to control, and theirs to play. Female gamers are constantly scrutinized, disrespected and sexually objectified in the gaming world…. But wait, doesn’t that sound like the real world as well? The sexist and racist society we live in, is what gave white males the idea in the first place that they could monopolize an ever growing entertainment outlet like gaming. White male supremacy in the gaming world will not stop until it is stopped in our reality.


Emily Castonguay 

Narrative/Counter Narrative Analysis

I believe Parable of the Polygons fits in with a counter narrative discourse simply because it is not something people talk about anymore. Segregation is an issue that society seems to think has dissipated in the 1950-60's when laws were passed, but it has become so ingrained in our way of life that it just happens without anyone ever noticing. This game brings it to light again in a fun, cute way while also talking about the issue as the "levels" go on. The game also targets the player to make a change in their own lives. Throughout, they keep repeating things like, "...harmless choices make a harmful world" and, "small individual bias can lead to large collective bias." The game is targeting and demanding a change in the world we live in based on such a large social issue.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Notice:  Class will meet in Horace Mann 182 on 3/14


Midterm Blog (20%)

Choose ONE question to answer in your blog:

1.  Make some connections between class content (a blog post or class discussion) and Ready Player One.

2.  How does looking at Ready Player One highlight flaws in our current society?

3.  How does critically looking at videogame(s) highlight flaws in our current society?

4.  Shaw (linked here and in your syllabus) finds two problematic approaches to rectify the misrepresentation of women in games:  The “Add women and stir” approach (increasing the diversity of game-makers), and placing the burden of change on representatives from the marginalized group(s).  Choose one of these two approaches to write about in your blog.  What’s the approach and what are issues related to the approach?  Then think beyond the problematic approaches:  How can we “create critiques of representation that are politically engaged enough to resist market logics and nimble enough to encompass interactive, personalized, customized media texts?”

Blogs will be scored on the following items:

1. Is your name on the blog?
2. Did you WRITE the question which you are answering?
3. Did you ANSWER the question (starting with a thesis sentence)?
4. Did you reference concepts discussed in class, the blog, or class texts?
5. Is your opinion/perspective represented?
6. Did you use conventional English and grammar?

Facebook is my avatar

In what way does ready player one relate to class discussion/ blog posts….

After reading 'Ready Player One' it has become obvious that our class discussions and blog posts have related

to the reading in more than one way. Ready Player one addresses a variety of different topics as well as our class

discussion. Ready player one relates based in the future touches many issues we have in 2016.

For starters todays gamer gate, i don't mean just the issues of sexism in video games causing controversy, in

the case of Anita Sarkeesian. The type of harassment and fear Anita faces is equivalent to the players in RPO and

the sixers. Both are facing threats, they know where Anita lives as the sixers do the players. Anita is facing death

threats like the RPO players and the threats are directly related to a game. The gamers threatening Anita are so

involved and infatuated with the games they play Anita criticizing it pushes them to put her in fear. The sixes are so

obsessed with winning that they too use threats and even president on them when blowing up Wades home and

killing Daito.

Instagram, facebook, snap chat and other social networks is another way our class discussions relate to RPO.

Wade and the other people of oasis are so obsessed with their online life that they neglect their real lives. They can

be whomever they want on oasis, they can make their icon appear to look nothing like them. My group had

considered the idea that we too do this, we only post the part of our lives and of course pictures that make us look

good, happy, pretty, skinny, rich and other ideas along these lines. If you sign on my Facebook you'll never see

images of me in sweat pants eating chocolate cake watching Greys reruns. Instead are photos of me dressed up, at

fancy dinners, cruise ships, vacationing in mexico and pictures that make my boyfriend and i seem like the perfect

pair. Like Wades avatar and the other avatars in oasis, through social networking i am able to create the image

of my life that i wish for others to see. Instagram is probably a better example, my instagram makes me seem like

one of those girls who don't have a job and blog about fitness, make up, fashion and the latest trends. And as

you can see on Mondays its difficult to think thats the same person.

Not only do we create a false reality through our social networking but like Wade we live through technology

(another topic discussed in early semester). Thinking back to before everyone had a cell phone (cell phones

weren't popular when i was in high school) The halls in school were loud, I'd actually have to call my friends houses

and you never knew what anyone was doing, there was no where to post on your wall that you were at the mall,

or at the movies etc. Now most of our contact with friends is posting on each others walls, sending text messages,

i didn't even need to talk with friends about my trip because it was all up on my media pages for everyone to see.

We are in an oasis, most of our school work is online, a majority of our communication is online or via text message

and now you can even take all your classes online, we are in Oasis and we don't even recognize it.

The biggest similarity i find between our lives and RPO (class discussions) is how much we live are lives

through technology and create a false picture for peers through our "avatars". All though we don't have an avatar

like Wade we create an avatar through the pictures we post and articles and create the version of ourselves we

want others to view.

Staci Marsden


How does critically looking at video games highlight flaws in our society?
I can remember when I was a little girl I was never placed in front of a television for more than a half hour or better yet, I never played video games. Running around outside with my sisters and neighborhood friends is what our early evening consisted of. It is evident that times have definitely changed. The everyday norm is placing children in front of a television or Ipad to play video games-and not just your average video game. Today, video games express violence, racism/ hatred towards women-all over dirty and nasty images that children as such young ages should not be viewing at all.  
It is also important to use your critical eye when viewing video games. Specific video games display ideologies, like mentioned above that leave the viewers to believe everything they see or hear in the media is true. Lets take violence for example. The media possesses violence in most video games- lets not forget that young kids are playing these video games. For example, if you look at grand theft auto, it's ALL shooting and all you see are weapons. The purpose of the game is to shoot/kill the most people and protect yourself from getting shot. If we have little children or even teenagers who play this game with no parental control, they are going to think that shooting people is an "okay" action. However, there are some parents that stress that a virtual world is not real and shooting people is not something you do to people. But they are young-children are innocent. Does playing this video game decrease their innocence? With that being said, I have some of my students who come to school saying, "I am going to shoot you." I ask them where they hear it from and most of them respond, "The game on Mommy or Daddy's phone." Craziness to me. How is this expectable? Those words should never be in anyone's vocabulary, let alone a young child. They are consuming themselves with this language that the media is representing as "normal" and acceptable.
Racism and hatred towards women-or women being used as sexualized objects are often seen in many video games. However, this notion is not even visible to most MEN playing the game because they are consumed in the action which is taking place; not who the action may be happening to. For example, Anita Sarkessian made a few outstanding videos in regards to the way women are treated in video games. Anita's Women As a Background video focused on numerous types of video games in regards to women being sexualized objects instead of subjects. Look closely to the women next time you come in contact with a video game. They are just there. There is no story behind them. They do not have a story. They hardly have clothes on. They are there to be used for sex. How often is a woman the main character in a video game? Never. The men always have to be in control. The media is representing this incorrect vision of women-young children will grow up to believe that women should be treated like this. Women have always struggled with their place in society-always feeling inferior to men, men always have to be in control, men only want them for their sexy body parts, hey are only on this earth to have children and so forth-concluding that all video games support this awful, untrue, flaw of representing of women in our society.
Women in regards to racism are seen in a couple of games. For example Anita explains to her audience that the women who are being represented, as strippers are usually a Chinese or Foreign girl-because men love European girls. Concluding that women are being valued for their bodies and their body parts; again, a flaw that needs to be recognized. After Anita's videos became viral she received awful death threats, rape threats, and violence letters-all because she was trying to stress the way certain women are being treated in video games is unacceptable.
 One needs to critically think about the video games they are actually playing. Not the wining or losing part of it, but the overall flaws it is bringing to our society. Like stated above, the concepts such, as violence, race and hatred towards women are three examples of flaws that tie in to society today. Sadly, violence is happening all around us everyday. The media, such as video games mirrors this ideology that violence is an action that is acceptable. When one considers race and hatred towards women, these are also flaws that are reflected in our society. Not only are more women getting raped each year but they way they are treated, in the real world and virtual world is again, a reaction from the media.  
Bethany Gencarella

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Midterm- Adrianne Shaw

4.  Shaw (linked here and in your syllabus) finds two problematic approaches to rectify the misrepresentation of women in games:  The "Add women and stir" approach (increasing the diversity of game-makers), and placing the burden of change on representatives from the marginalized group(s).  Choose one of these two approaches to write about in your blog.  What's the approach and what are issues related to the approach?  Then think beyond the problematic approaches:  How can we "create critiques of representation that are politically engaged enough to resist market logics and nimble enough to encompass interactive, personalized, customized media texts?"


In Shaw's piece, she talks about two different ways that people claim that sexism can be can be removed from video games where women are used as ""damsels in distress", "sexy sidekicks", and "rewards"."  One of the tactics people claim would work is called the "add women and stir" approach.  This approach claims that all videogame companies have to do is to hire women, and just their presence and input will erase the misogyny within gaming.   Shaw says that the issue is this "approach assumes that there are no structural limitations within the industry that preclude this representation, that men in the industry are simply incapable of creating texts that are not representations of themselves or their fantasies, and that all women are feminists."


The end of that quote is very important, not all women are feminists.  This could mean that videogame companies could go out and hire women that don't consider themselves feminists, so they are either less likely to fight sexism within videogames, or they may not even see it.  They could just see the sexism within all the videogames and not think twice about it because that's just the way that so many games are.  Plus, even if the gaming companies found female feminists that would try to fight misogyny within games, those women would probably face the same harassment as Sarkeesian and the other women within "Gamergate".


I feel like the only to "create critiques of representation that are politically engaged enough to resist market logics and nimble enough to encompass interactive, personalized, customized media texts" is to get all feminist gamers, no matter their gender, race, or any other identities, need to join together and hold gaming companies to hire standards.  The biggest thing is that women and other members of marginalized groups cannot be fighting on their own, there needs to be allies (people with privilege fighting for the people with less privilege) supporting their voices.



Midterm Blog Post

How does critically looking at video games highlight flaws in our society?

Throughout the semester, we have constantly discussed video games in relation to the society we live in, even when we were discussing sports we would go back to video games. Video games are a huge aspect of the twenty-first century and they definitely do not seem to be going away any time soon so it is very important to understand the impact that they have. Video games have grown to be a huge aspect of popular culture and should be analyzed just as much as we constantly analyze literature, film, and art. Even if that includes highlighting what is wrong with what popular culture, like video games, 

Video games reflect what society would like them to reflect. Over the past thirty or so years, video games have been growing in production, graphics are getting better, stories are becoming more and more involved, and gaming has gone past just the group of kids that would go to an arcade with a bag of quarters and attempt to get the highest score. So when video games begin to show off a large degree of violence, most noticeably violence against women, it begins to show off what society really values and what society strives to portray.

I remember being a little kid watching my older cousin and sister play “Duke Nukem and the Land of Babes” on the Playstation and not thinking twice about the graphic images of women that were portrayed. Flash forward about fifteen years and I recently played “Bioshock,” a video game that was prominently discussed in “Women as Background Decorations Part 2,” and witnessed basically everything that was stated in the video. Women were sexual objects, used to fuel the flame under the protagonist’s fight. This sort of stuff really highlights the idea behind women being secondary characters to a protagonist’s fight. It happens in movies, television shows, literature, and even sports games. When these kinds of images are displayed, it just emphasizes the flaw in our society that women are not considered to be as cool and as powerful as men.

Video games also highlight the violence seen in our society. When you play a video game like “Grand Theft Auto” or “Call of Duty” it has the power to desensitize others into believing that this violence is normal and necessary. Although there are both studies for an against the view that violence in video game has any effect on the players, but its still there. It is still making it okay to view this violence and commit violence in video games. Killing a prostitute is just fine in GTA, apparently. It really shows how much violence seems to be okay as long as it’s “fake.”

I think what really reflects how society views critically analyzing games is how those who publicly analyze them are treated. When women like Anita Sarkeesian are sent death threats, rape threats, and have their personal information leaked simply because they believe in analyzing video games and calling out video games for their misogynistic and negative portrayal of women and people of color, there’s some sort of flaw in society in there. There’s a xenophobia portrayed because it is so often that white men are portrayed in a positive and strong light that when people call out others on the need for change, suddenly it is as though the whole world has been turned upside. I think this reaction really shows the xenophobia represented within our society which makes us less likely to like or understand change, which can be really negative for any form of growth.

Taylor O'Neill