Kind of…Gamey

October 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

Oh no reason, I just like it because it’s awkward.

Searle Huh and Dmitri Williams, “Dude Looks Like a Lady: Gender Swapping in an Online Game,” Online Worlds: Convergence of the real and the Virtual (2010) 

Online anonymity is problematic. It can be an ambivalent social force. Sometimes people gender swap. BUT NO ONE KNOWS WHY. Sex and gender aren’t the same thing. Gender is coded, even in real life. People experiment with identity online, because they can. But real life is never far behind. Maybe this is why people gender swap. Yes, probably; we predict that women will be more likely to swap, as will homosexuals. Because gender roles, they’re binding. And predict that men and women will approach games differently. Like lady players will chat more. And male players will FIGHT more. And this will factor into whatever swapping. Oops looking at the data, turns out a lot of our initial predictions were wrong. Also hardly anyone gender swaps. The end!

Tanner Higgin, “Blackless Fantasy: The Disappearance of Race in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games” (2009)

There aren’t a lot of black or brown bodies in video games (focusing here on EverQuest, EverQuest II and WoW), and the ones that are featured are stereotypical at best and outright racist at worst. Cybertypical, you could say, per Nakamura. The first problem is that black people haven’t been sitting at the negotiating table, and the second is that the technologies of representation/mediation are racially exclusionary. Case in point, “humanity” is coded as white in WoW — which pretty much sums it up.

Thomas Malaby and Timothy Burke, “The Short and Happy Life of Interdisciplinarity in Game Studies” (2009)

Thinking about games and play is so hot right now, and the methodological approaches to these topics are as varied as they are pragmatic! You’ve got your law! Your anthropology! Your communication studies! Your literature! And many more, often all mushed together like some sexy academic puppy pile! It makes sense that the field would be so diverse (well in terms of method) and open-ended — the subject itself is diverse (well in terms of behavior) and open-ended. That said, the interdisciplinarity we’re currently enjoying is unlikely to sustain itself, due to you know what a killjoy academia can be! All borders & territory & departmental land-grabs, plus where do we put all the grad students we’re training? In conclusion, our success thus far almost ensures entry into the establishment, and this is a mixed blessing.

furthermore I doesn’t afraid

You know what, Mother is tired. Here, watch this video of Courtney Stodden and Creeper McToombs talking about how they got kicked out of a pumpkin patch that one time, for being in love. And while you’re watching, pretend I’m saying something smart about the importance of factoring the above picture into analyses of online behaviors (including this one) — namely, people do things because they want to. While you don’t want to say that people’s behaviors are motiveless or meaningless –they never are– it’s also important to recognize that FUN can be a reason unto itself. Obviously, FUN can’t easily be quantified via analytics. And it can’t be the only conclusion one draws. But it matters, and matters a lot, and if you’ll excuse me I need to go watch murder shows on Investigation Discovery, America’s fastest growing network.

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