Stories and Changing Social Norms: Representation of Gender in Video Games from 2007 to 2017

Kingsland Kaitlyn
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

This paper focuses on how a games’ characters and story reflect changing cultural norms in the period during which a game series was developed and released. This is done through qualitative evaluation of the Dragon Age series (2009-2014) and compared to two other game franchises with similar release dates and production location: the Mass Effect Trilogy (2007-2012) and the Uncharted series (2007-2017). Stories reflect cultural and societal norms of the periods and places that crafted them, providing a unique avenue of second-person stories, containing bits and pieces of their creators and their sociocultural biases. Using these digital games as artifacts and texts of focus, a change in social and cultural values and norms of modern society appears when evaluating and comparing the content of previous games in a series to the current ones, as these works reflect the environment in which they were created.


Understanding the experience of Australian eSports spectatorship

Cumming David
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This paper investigates the experience of physically attending a live eSports event in Australia. Although Australia has historically been relatively absent from globalised eSports, recent international interest has seen Australia host several major popular eSports events in 2017. To fully understand the appeal of these new prominent additions to the Australian eSports landscape, we must understand what characteristics constitute an Australian eSports event and how attendees experience it within the Australian cultural context. To achieve this, a case study and grounded theory-based approach was employed. 19 semi-structured interviews with attendees at two major Australian eSports events were conducted, observations of the events conducted by the researcher and video recorded of the online event streams. The four characteristics of entertainment, education, socialisation and active support, supported by 10 axial codes were found to constitute the experience of attending a live Australian eSports event in person.


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.


Analysing Cultural Heritage and its Representation in Video Games

Balela Majed S. Mundy Darren
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

This paper outlines research towards strengthening our understanding of the representation of cultural artifacts in video games. The approach described outlines steps towards utilising a framework using dimensions of cultural heritage as reference points for games analysis. This framework is then used as a mechanism to analyse two games: Assassin’s Creed I and Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta. The case study analysis presents concerns regarding cultural representation in the selected games. This is followed by a discussion of the main concerns coming out of the analysis. These concerns are effectively grouped under five sections: ‘cultural appropriation’; ‘hollywoodisation and beautification’; ‘selectivity’; ‘game dynamics rule design decision’; and ‘ideological constraints’. The research raises issues about how video game designers approach the inclusion of items with cultural meaning in their products. Next stages in the work involve interviewing of games designers to better understand how the design decisions presented in this paper occur.


Cultures of Digital Gamers: Practices of Appropriation.

Wiemker Markus
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

This essay will attempt to show that Anglo-American culture research can make a significant contribution to a better understanding of digital games, their production contexts and acquisition processes. A close examination of a game’s production context will shed light on structures, processes and ideologies which influence the development of a game on a conscious or unconscious level. The analysis of the game itself can reveal models of society presented in the game, intrinsic identification potentials and creative acquisition potentials. But the way the game is eventually adopted by the player can only be made clear by a close examination of its acquisition and the various forms of reception and enjoyment it induces.


Conditions of Engagement in Game Simulation: Contexts of Gender, Culture and Age

Noble Ralph Ruiz Kathleen Destefano Marc Mintz Jonathan
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

We advocate a research approach to determining the conditions of engagement in game simulation that is a multi-disciplinary cultural and scientific inquiry at the juncture of psychological, artistic, and programming perspectives. What are the factors that cause some people to become enthralled with detail-oriented simulation game-play, while others are captivated by more abstracted, symbolic styles of play? How are the conditions of engagement influenced by gender, culture, and age?


Role-Playing Games: The State of Knowledge [Panel Abstracts]

Drachen Anders Copier Marinka Montola Markus Eladhari Mirjam Hitchens Michael Stenros Jaakko
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Role-playing games form one of the major genres of games and exist across all hardware platforms as well outside of the technology domain in a huge variety of forms and formats. Role-playing oriented research has focused on culture, storytelling, game processes as well as e.g. user interaction, play experience and character design. Today role-playing games research is an established component of game studies. This panel presents a state of the art of the knowledge of role-playing games research covering a great variety of angles and interests, providing an overview of the current hot topics and future research directions within one of the key genres of games.