Playing Whiteness in Crisis in The Last of Us and Tomb Raider

Murray Soraya
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This paper examines the white normative figure under duress, through videogames that present a crisis in American narratives of progress: The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, 2013), set in a melancholic post-apocalyptic U.S.; and Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics, 2013), a reboot of the now-classic Lara Croft narrative that recasts the heroine as desperate and far from invincible. Using key concepts from critical whiteness studies, popular panics around the demographic shifts in the U.S. away from a white majority, and Richard Dyer’s theorizations, I show how "making whiteness strange" can decouple it from the normative, and rescue it from unattainable ideals and self-annihilating tendencies. Running the gauntlet between representing universal humanity and traumatized victimhood, whiteness in games takes a beating within a fraught Post-9/11 and Post-Obama moment of national transition. Through critical analysis of identity politics around whiteness in video games, larger cultural stakes are revealed.


Exploring E-sports: A Case Study of Gameplay in Counter-strike

Rambusch Jana Jakobsson Peter Pargman Daniel
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

In this paper, a case study of Counter-strike is presented in which cognitive, cultural, economical, and technological aspects of people’s gameplay activities are discussed. Most attention is given to Counter-strike as an e-sport – competitive gameplay which borrows forms from traditional sports. Also, methodological and theoretical issues related to the study are discussed, including issues of player-centered approaches and issues related to the crossdisciplinarily of the study, which borrows perspectives from cognitive science as well as cultural studies.