Gaming Representation

Gaming Representation

Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games
Edited by Jennifer Malkowski and TreaAndrea M. Russworm
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/03/2017
Format: Paperback 27 color illus., 1 table
ISBN: 978-0-253-02647-7
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Recent years have seen an increase in public attention to identity and representation in video games, including journalists and bloggers holding the digital game industry accountable for the discrimination routinely endured by female gamers, queer gamers, and gamers of color. Video game developers are responding to these critiques, but scholarly discussion of representation in games has lagged far behind. Gaming Representation examines portrayals of race, gender, and sexuality in a range of games, from casuals like Diner Dash, to indies like Journey and The Binding of Isaac, to mainstream games from the Grand Theft Auto, BioShock, Spec Ops, The Last of Us, and Max Payne franchises. Arguing that representation and identity function as systems in games that share a stronger connection to code and platforms than it may first appear, the contributors to this volume push gaming scholarship to new levels of inquiry, theorizing, and imagination.

Author Bio

Jennifer Malkowski is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at Smith College. Her research areas include digital media; documentary; race, gender, and sexuality in media; and death and dying. She is the author of Dying in Full Detail: Mortality and Digital Documentary.

TreaAndrea M. Russworm is Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she teaches classes on digital media, race, and popular culture. She is coeditor of From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry and author of Blackness is Burning: Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition.


“...a new benchmark for the critical engagement of race, gender and sexuality in the study of video games and virtual representation.”
 — Alan Brookey, editor of Playing to Win: Sports, Video Games, and the Culture of Play

“ important contribution to scholarship in the field of game studies.”
 — Mia Consalvo, author of Players and their Pets: Gaming Communities from Beta to Sunset

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Table of Contents

Foreword / Anna Everett
Introduction: "Identity, Representation, and Video Game Studies Beyond the Politics of the Image" / Jennifer Malkowski and TreaAndrea M. Russworm

Part 1: Gender / Bodies / Spaces
1. "I Turned Out to Be Such a Damsel in Distress": Noir Games and the Unrealized Femme Fatale / Jennifer Malkowski
2. No Time to Dream: Killing Time, Casual Games, and Gender / Braxton Soderman
3. "Aw Fuck, I Got a Bitch on My Team!": Women and the Exclusionary Cultures of the Computer Game Complex / Carly A. Kocurek and Jennifer deWinter
4. Attention Whores and Ugly Nerds: Gender and Cosplay at the Game Con / Nina Huntemann
5. Machinima Parodies: Appropriating Video Games to Criticize Gender Norms / Gabrielle Trépanier-Jobin

Part 2: Race / Identity / Nation
6. Dystopian Blackness and the Limits of Racial Empathy in The Walking Dead and The Last of Us / TreaAndrea M. Russworm
7. Journey into the Techno-Primitive Desert / Irene Chien
8. The Rubble and the Ruin: Race, Gender, and Sites of Inglorious Conflict in Spec Ops: The Line / Soraya Murray
9. Representing Race and Disability: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as a Whole Text / Rachael Hutchinson
10. Entering the Picture: Digital Portraiture and the Aesthetics of Video Game Representation / Lisa Patti

Part 3: Play / Queer / Games
11. Playing to Lose: The Queer Art of Failing at Video Games / Bonnie Ruberg
12. Romancing an Empire, Becoming Isaac: The Queer Possibilities of Jade Empire and The Binding of Isaac / Jordan Wood
13. A Game Chooses, a Player Obeys: BioShock, Posthumanism, and the Limits of Queerness / Edmond Y. Chang
Afterword: Racism, Sexism, and Gaming’s Cruel Optimism / Lisa Nakamura

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