[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 2 on -empyre: GAMES AND REPRESENTATION

shira chess shira.chess at gmail.com
Sat Apr 11 10:20:25 AEST 2015

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One thing that I think is worth discussing is that this mode of
marginalization is (of course) not unique to gaming.  Representation
studies (in all fields) have been long already marginalized -
particularly at conferences. While "feminist tracks" seem like a good
way to push like-minded people together, they also create silos where
the same people are constantly speaking to one another. I enjoy the
company of many of those people and like presenting with them at
conferences, but that mode doesn't necessarily invite in new voices
and diversity in the sense of expanding who gets to talk about
feminism/intersectionality/diversity. In part, it was experiences such
as this at DiGRA 2013 that led Adrienne and I to create our Fishbowl
as an attempt to sidestep the silos and ghettos at conferences. (But,
of course, you put together a fishbowl of feminists and you end up
with a global conspiracy.)

At the same time, I think it's important to consider how academics
reinforce this with a continued focus on AAA games. Not long ago, I
was on a panel where the topic was women and gaming, yet everyone was
approaching it from the standpoint of how women respond to FPS and
console RPGs. We are only now beginning to value "casual" gaming as an
important research focus. In many ways, academia has echoed the
pecking order that was constructed by the video game industry that
values "hardcore" over "casual" - labels we all know to be complicated
and inaccurate. At a certain point, though, we need to stop maligning
games for being "cow clickers" and consider them for their importance
and impact in creating alternative voices.

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