Playing with Patriarchy: Fatherhood in BioShock: Infinite, The Last of Us, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Lucat Bertrand
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

A number of prominent digital games have in recent years featured fathers as protagonists. The ideological implications of those games’ different representations of fatherhood and masculinity appear as important axes of investigation into the roles digital games can play in contemporary ideological discourse. Through a close comparative analysis and reading of BioShock: Infinite (Irrational Games 2013), The Last of Us (Naughty Dog 2013), and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED 2015), this paper examines the narrative, representational, and procedural elements which frame fatherhood in these three popular games. Relying upon the foundations of procedural rhetoric and the concept of hegemonic masculinities, this paper focuses on three key themes: paternal violence, anti-fathers, and exceptional daughters. The different ways these themes are represented in the three games highlights how they respectively reinforce, restore, and challenge notions of patriarchal authority, the role of the father, and contemporary gender ideologies.


Ideological Narratives of Play in Tropico 4 and Crusader Kings II

Lucat Bertrand Haahr Mads
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

Ideology and its function in digital games has received considerable scholarly interest in the field of game studies, though only more recently has criticism interested itself with the ideological implications of game mechanics in conjunction with a game's representational content. Relying on an Althusserian definition of ideology, this paper builds upon the existing methodology of procedural rhetoric to examine the ideological functions of serious games, before addressing the necessity for a process of ideological analysis suited to the vast majority of commercial digital games. Through the close study of two games, Tropico 4 (Haemimont Games 2011) and Crusader Kings II (Paradox Development Studio 2012), and the examination of their representational components, the game mechanics they deploy, and the emergent narratives that unfold during play, this paper works to lay the foundations for an analytical framework designed for the close ideological reading and analysis of popular digital games.