Genesis of a Gaming Culture: a Historical Analysis Based on the Computer Press in Portugal

Lima Luciana Pinto Camila Gouveia Patrícia
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Each technology is developed within a specific context and related to different social fields. This paper offers a historical analysis of the beginnings of press narratives about computer games in Portugal during the establishment of democracy and its entry into the European Economic Community in the 1980s. It focuses on the narratives created by two specialized computer press publications about the place of digital games in the broader social context and how gender and age group issues were presented in these narratives. It was possible to identify how computer games were directed to an imagined target population, given the worldwide tendency to relate technologies and games as a male “taste.” This helped to distinguish those legitimately interested in gaming culture and exclude all those who did not fit this norm.


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.


Final Fantasy VII Remake: In Search of Queer Celebration

Heijmen Nicky Vosmeer Mirjam
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Inspired by the notion that online sources had declared Final Fantasy VII Remake as a celebration of queerness, this study analyzes the ways in which the game has been adjusted. After an exploration of the concepts of queergaming and queer representation, the promotion of homophobia and heteronormativity that was abundant in the original FFVII is discussed. An in-depth description of main character Cloud Strife is provided in which his androgynous masculinity is viewed from the perspective of specific Japanese aesthetic traits. By focusing on two scenes that have their roots in the 1997 original - and were rewritten for the remake - the representation of (non-)heteronormative identities, desires, and practices is analyzed. It is concluded that although the term ‘queer celebration’ may be exaggerated, by drastically removing FFVII’s efforts to degenerate any form of homoeroticism, at least the most prominent of disadvantageous social dimensions in the game have been considered.


Gender Asymmetries in the Digital Games Sector in Portugal

Lima Luciana Gouveia Patrícia
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

In this paper, we describe the results of a research in progress that seeks to analyze gender asymmetries in the digital games sector in Portugal. The results of its first phase indicated that the percentage of girls enrolled in digital games courses is significantly lower than the percentage of boys. This suggests that tertiary training in digital games is not attractive for girls in Portugal. We also examined physical characteristics of characters with human traits in digital games produced in the country between 2014 and 2018 through a gender perspective. Finally, we analyzed the results of the focus groups made with higher education students. Many of them argued that the underrepresentation of women in gaming industry is a matter of sensitivities of interest. This research points to the need to develop in-depth studies on a theme that has been neglected for years in the game studies.


Player Definitions of Success, Skill, and Leadership in Video Games

Tomlinson Christine
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Gender is a defining aspect of many daily understandings, perceptions, and definitions. Culturally, this influence can lead to many disadvantages and barriers for women. This project investigates these topics as they relate to video game players. Using interviews and online forum analysis, the author explores players’ experiences, beliefs, and definitions to investigate the potential influences of gender on access and status in the video game community. Ultimately, players are found to identify success in gender- neutral terms, suggesting that the landscape may be equal for women in the hobby. However, when it comes to skill and leadership, players have ideas that reinforce gender stereotypes, creating a circumstance where players reflect many of the same kinds of gendered hierarchies seen in other areas of life. This has implications for many public spaces and suggests that movements toward gender parity exert an uneven influence on cultural understandings.


Dancing with the Hands: Frictions with Videogames, Dance and Gender

Snowdon Timothy
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

Dance has a long history within game studies and occupies a very literal niche within game design. When applied to more conventional videogame play, dance has provided a way of re-interpreting player performance, with the feminine cultural coding of dance used to challenge the masculinity of contemporary videogame culture. Exploring conceptions of choreography, dancing, and gender as understood through dance studies, this paper questions the applicability and efficacy of dance as a force of change. By examining alternative ways of running dance studios and making games, we see that it is not dance or play that produces new ways of exploring gender but rather the structures that surround them. In this light, dance emerges as a latent potentiality within game performances, but one that is still subject to pervasive and rigid ideas of gender.


Building a Gamer: Player Preferences and Motivations Across Gender and Genre

Tomlinson Christine
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

Most aspects of life involve gender gaps in terms of entrance, experience, and outcome. Video games have largely not been an exception to this, but more recent studies are finding that factors other than gender may be more powerful as predictors for similarity or difference among players. This study uses interviews with 54 current adult video game players and analyses of online forum discussions to better understand player experiences, motivations, and preferences. Ultimately, players are much more similar than older studies would lead one to believe. The majority of players enter gaming at the same time through similar paths and they identify the same motivating factors consistently in terms of why they play. However, while players note that they are motivated by opportunities to relax, participate in a compelling story, and overcome challenges, female players do diverge from male players in that their idea of relaxation is much less social.


“There Are No Women and They All Play Mercy”: Understanding and Explaining (the Lack of) Women’s Presence in Esports and Competitive Gaming

Ruotsalainen Maria Friman Usva
2018 DiGRA Nordic '18: Proceedings of 2018 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

In this paper, we explore women’s participation in esports and competitive gaming. We will analyze two different types of research material: online questionnaire responses by women explaining their reluctance to participate in esports, and online forum discussions regarding women’s participation in competitive Overwatch. We will examine the ways in which women’s participation – its conditions, limits and possibilities – are constructed in the discussions concerning women gamers, how women are negotiating their participation in their own words, and in what ways gender may affect these processes. Our findings support those made in previous studies concerning esports and competitive gaming as fields dominated by toxic meritocracy and hegemonic (geek) masculinity, and based on our analysis, women’s room for participation in competitive gaming is still extremely limited, both in terms of presence and ways of participation.