Cover

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Half Title, Series Info, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Anna Everett

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pp. ix-xvi

Now is an opportune moment for visionary thinking about the gaming industrial complex (GIC) vis-à-vis the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race, and the ludic imagination, especially as we look toward the third decade of the twenty-first century. Since the remarkable rebound of the video game industry in the 1990s following its near total collapse in the early 1980s, ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xviii

The editors are grateful for the many levels of support we have received throughout this process. At Indiana University Press, we appreciate the time Janice Frisch has devoted to the book (as well as her predecessor, Raina Polivka, with whom we initially worked). We also thank series editor Robert Brookey and an anonymous reader for their helpful and timely comments ...

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Introduction: Identity, Representation, and Video Game Studies beyond the Politics of the Image

Jennifer Malkowski, TreaAndrea M. Russworm

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pp. 1-16

Of what significance are questions about identity (especially race, gender, and sexuality) to the evolution of video game studies? Has the trend toward code analysis and platform studies inadvertently worked to silence, marginalize, or dismiss representational analysis in the field? Are there ways in which the often-violent protection of video games ...

Part I. Gender, Bodies, Spaces

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1: “I Turned Out to Be Such a Damsel in Distress”: Noir Games and the Unrealized Femme Fatale

Jennifer Malkowski

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pp. 19-37

Once upon a time in media history, a character type called the femme fatale accomplished a minor miracle: she infused the products of a deeply misogynistic industry, US cinema in the 1940s, with a spark of interest for its female consumers while simultaneously adding strong appeal for its male consumers. A statement like this one requires a long list of qualifiers, ...

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2: No Time to Dream: Killing Time, Casual Games, and Gender

Braxton Soderman

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pp. 38-56

In his posthumously published Paris Spleen from 1869, Charles Baudelaire penned a fascinating prose poem imbued with both the rhetoric of play and gender. Within the poem, “The Gallant Marksman,” a husband and wife pause at a shooting gallery to kill time during a carriage journey through the woods. I quote the poem in its entirety: ...

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3: “Aw Fuck, I Got a Bitch on My Team!”: Women and the Exclusionary Cultures of the Computer Game Complex

Jennifer deWinter, Carly A. Kocurek

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pp. 57-73

As the quotation used in our title makes clear, women in gaming culture face more than a little hostility from outspoken male gamers.1 The video game industry currently faces scrutiny from industry professionals, players, and cultural critics who deplore the lack of women and diversity in the production of games. ...

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4: Attention Whores and Ugly Nerds: Gender and Cosplay at the Game Con

Nina B. Huntemann

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pp. 74-89

Cosplay, a portmanteau of “costume” and “play,” is a popular social practice at fan conventions whereby attendees create costumes and role-play as characters from the fictional worlds of comic books, films, television shows, anime, manga, and video games. Cosplayers often attend entire conventions in costume and may also compete in organized costume contests. ...

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5: Video Game Parodies: Appropriating Video Games to Criticize Gender Norms

Gabrielle Trépanier-Jobin

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pp. 90-106

Over the past few years, game scholars have shown that gender norms are embedded into video games’ stories, design, and codes.1 Narratives of platform video games often mirror the conventional division of roles between the sexes, and avatars’ bodies in role-playing games frequently conform to Western beauty standards. Most video games can therefore be considered as “technologies of gender,” ...

Part II. Race, Identity, Nation

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6: Dystopian Blackness and the Limits of Racial Empathy in The Walking Dead and The Last of Us

TreaAndrea M. Russworm

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pp. 109-128

While the mainstream video game industry has been widely criticized for failing to prioritize diverse representations in narrative games, words like “race,” “diversity,” and “inclusiveness” have been appearing more often as topics of discussion at industry conventions like the Game Developers Conference (GDC). ...

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7: Journey into the Techno-primitive Desert

Irene Chien

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pp. 129-146

In the summer of 1898, art historian John C. Van Dyke ventured alone into the American desert with barely more than a pistol. He was considered a fool—the desert was a no-man’s-land that white men were forced to pass through to get to the abundant lands beyond. Yet Van Dyke emerged almost three years later from his solitary trek, utterly transfixed. ...

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8: The Rubble and the Ruin: Race, Gender, and Sites of Inglorious Conflict in Spec Ops: The Line

Soraya Murray

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pp. 147-163

Spec Ops: The Line (2012), designed by Yager Development and published by 2K Games, is a third-person military shooter whose primary target is the military shooter itself. As Captain Martin Walker, you (the player) have been ordered to Dubai on a search and recon mission, after receiving a radio distress signal from deep within a city buried beneath shifting dunes for six months. ...

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9: Representing Race and Disability: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as a Whole Text

Rachael Hutchinson

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pp. 164-178

Research on race in game studies has focused more on the disenfranchisement of certain populations in the world of game texts rather than on the reasons that developers may construct particular images of race for particular reasons. Analysis of racial representation in games is often based on stereotypical imagery found in short segments of game text, ...

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10: Entering the Picture: Digital Portraiture and the Aesthetics of Video Game Representation

Lisa Patti

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pp. 179-194

“If anything, my avatar has to concentrate on being me,” explains Harisu, an actress and singer from Seoul, South Korea, who describes herself as the “first Korean transgender celebrity.”1 Her comments about her experiences inhabiting male and female avatars in virtual worlds in comparison to her reception in the “real” world appear in the book Alter Ego, ...

Part III. Queerness, Play, Subversion

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11: Playing to Lose: The Queer Art of Failing at Video Games

Bonnie Ruberg

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pp. 197-211

When we play video games, we play to win, don’t we? sometimes we fail—very often we fail—but failure itself amounts to little more than an unpleasant, if necessary, obstacle on the road to success. It’s normal to hate to fail; taking pleasure in failure itself, playing a game intentionally to lose, would be very queer indeed. ...

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12: Romancing an Empire, Becoming Isaac: The Queer Possibilities of Jade Empire and The Binding of Isaac

Jordan Wood

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pp. 212-226

Alexander Galloway’s oft-cited portmanteau, the allegorithm, distills the video game’s relationship with the real to one of systemic analogy and critical comparison.1 The allegorithm is the point of contact between the internal logic of the game and the social constructs that produce it. McKenzie Wark extends the concept of the allegorithm into a spatial metaphor: ...

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13: A Game Chooses, a Player Obeys: BioShock, Posthumanism, and the Limits of Queerness

Edmond Y. Chang

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pp. 227-244

According to the game’s website, BioShock (2007, Irrational Games) is a “‘genetically enhanced’ first person shooter that lets you do things never before possible in the genre: turn everything into a weapon, biologically mod your body with plasmids, hack devices and systems, upgrade your weapons and craft new ammo variants, and experiment with different battle techniques in an incredible and unique underwater city.”1 ...

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Afterword: Racism, Sexism, and Gaming’s Cruel Optimism

Lisa Nakamura

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pp. 245-250

I have been lucky enough to teach university-level courses on video game studies for several years. While my other digital media courses have a good mix of female and male students, my game courses have attracted very few women. In their earliest iterations, a full class of thirty students might enroll only one or two women, making me dreadfully afraid that they might drop the class; ...

Index

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pp. 251-260