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

Aubrey Anable aubrey.anable at utoronto.ca
Wed Apr 15 08:51:32 AEST 2015

Shira—Thank you for putting some necessary pressure on the discourse of being maligned. I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement to the many good points made by Jen and Brenda.

I do think it’s important to celebrate the more diverse gaming landscape that has developed over the past few years--in terms of whose playing and whose designing games. My comments here have mostly been about my frustrations with some blind spots in academic approaches to analyzing and understanding games. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I would like to suggest that the problems we have all been identifying--in the industry, the culture, and in scholarly approaches--are connected.

For example, I think it is a problem that most game design programs in North American universities are closely affiliated with Computer Science. Computer Science departments have a big gender problem in terms of being unable—for complex reasons—to attract and retain women in the field. If these are the programs that feed into the gaming industry, we are still a long way off from increasing the numbers of women in programming jobs. At the same time, courses in “game studies” from a humanities or a social scientific approach are taught elsewhere on campus, often with little or no direct connection with what’s going on over in Computer Science. This is a problem that affects who goes to work in the industry, what kind of work they do in the industry, and deepens the divide between ways of knowing and understanding video games in the broader culture.

And by the way, Brenda, I would love to hear your thoughts on the deeper reasons behind GamerGate, as I’m sure others would.

Aubrey Anable
Cinema Studies Institute 
University of Toronto
2 Sussex Ave.
Toronto, ON
M5S 1J5

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