Spec Ops: The Line’s Conventional Subversion of the Military Shooter

Keogh Brendan
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The contemporary videogame genre of the military shooter, exemplified by blockbuster franchises like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, is often criticised for its romantic and jingoistic depictions of the modern, high-tech battlefield. This entanglement of military shooters and the rhetoric of technologically advanced warfare in a “militaryentertainment complex” is scrutinised by Yager’s Spec Ops: The Line. The game’s critique of military shooters is as complex and messy as the battlefields the genre typically works to obscure. Initially presented to the player as a generic military shooter, The Line gradually subverts the genre’s mechanics, aesthetics, and conventions to devalue claims of the West’s technological and ethical superiority that the genre typically perpetuates. This paper brings together close, textual analysis; comments made by the game’s developers; and the analytical work of videogame critics to examine how The Line relies on the conventions of its own genre to ask its player to think critically about the cultural function of military shooters.


DeFragging Regulation: From putative effects to ‘researched’ accounts of player experience

Schott Gareth Marczak Raphaël Mäyrä Frans van Vught Jasper
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

In line with the conference theme for 2013, this paper introduces a research project that is seeking to ‘defragment’ research dealing with player experiences. Located at an intersection between humanities, social sciences and computer sciences, our research aims to achieve greater receptiveness for accounts of games that emphasise “the relationship between the structure of a game and the way people engage with that system” (Waern, 2012, p.1) in the context of game regulation. Working specifically within the context of the New Zealand classification system, which possesses a legally enforceable age-restriction system, the project seeks to strengthen regulators capacity to utilize Section 3(4) of the current Classification Act and support the employment of concepts such as ‘dominant effect’, ‘merit’ and ‘purpose’ when classifying games (OFLC, 2012). Extending an established appreciation within game studies for the way games produce polysemic performances and readings, this paper draws on our mixed methods approach in an exploration of the nature of a players’ experience with Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Vancouver). In doing so, we illustrate the different dynamics at play in its expression and use of violence - dynamics that fail to achieve expression when games are considered more generally within political and social realms.


Attention whore! Perception of female players who identify themselves as women in the communities of MMOs

Fortim Ivelise de Moura Grando Carolina
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

Despite the expansion of the gaming industry, its public remains overwhelmingly male in MMOs (Massive Multiplayer Online) games. The objective of this research is to explore the perceptions of players regarding self-identification as women in MMOs .The aim was to know: (i) how women identify themselves online (both as avatars and in virtual communities, such as forums), (ii) if there is fear of being identified as a woman, and (iii) if there are experiences of aggression and / or courtship from male players. The research included an online questionnaire with 21 questions about the experiences of female players that was posted as a link in virtual communities about games. The sample was composed of 120 self-identified Brazilian female players of MMOs with an average age of the players is 22 years. Most of the players were from the Southeast of Brazil, and have played MMOs for 6 to 10 years. Most players said that they have no problem revealing their gender and think that MMO communities are mostly receptive to them. Most of them play with female avatars (89%), and say that the experience is pleasurable (33%); 36% report that they were courted once at least while gaming. Despite reporting that their experiences playing games is pleasurable, there is still a differentiation of treatment for female avatars: 43.5% of the players say they realize their faults are being implicitly assigned to their gender and 38% report having experienced situations in which they were required to date another player. As for the experience of aggression, 23% reported that this has already occurred, but rarely. The results show that although there is no explicit prejudice, women still feel they are not treated as equals.