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Digital Diversity_Videogames

Page history last edited by David Shutkin 8 years, 7 months ago

In response to my inquiry after Joyce Murton’s talk about digital media and transgender, Amy Dentata sent me much information about video gaming and transgender politics. Please explore the next few paragraphs and associated links. Take time to read some of the articles and to play some of the games.


As you read and play, please blog about your beliefs and assumptions regarding:

1. The meaning and purpose of video games in our culture;

2. How the games and ideas expressed in the materials challenge and/or expand your beliefs and assumptions.


Here is a reading to consider, if it seems too academic, perhaps the second reading will be more compelling?


1. Merritt Kopas (2013) What are Games Good For? : Videogame Creation as Social, Artistic and Investigative Practice.  


2. Darius Kazemi, “Fuck Videogames” (Follow the link from the Kopas article -- the writer is a bit crude so I do not want to link to the article directly)


Please prepare to share, discuss and explore these issues in class on Wednesday.


Merritt Kopas is a trans woman game designer of note. She’s known most right now for her game Lim, which is about conformity and being an outsider. She has a background in academia and advocates for creating a space for games outside gamer culture. Here’s an excellent article of hers on the broader purpose of games. She runs a site called Forest Ambassador that highlights quick, free, easy-to-play games about uncommon things, with the potential for broad reach. Here is some documentation and comments about playing Lim.


Anna Anthropy’s is a prominent trans woman game designer. Her most publicized game is Dys4ia, a game telling her personal story about gender dysphoria and beginning transition. It’s a great example of telling a compelling personal narrative through an interactive medium. Some of the comments on the Newgrounds page are really worth noting too, for example:


“I watched this years ago when I was still a curious 11 year old lesbian girl... And it changed my life forever. Not only did this show me the pain, but this showed me the happiness that trans people feel once they succeed and now as a 13 year old boy I have tears in my eyes as I write this. This made my life better and I feel more confident that I can get through this. — metaknightgamer”


You can also check out the videogame blog on Amy Dentata’s web site. Her most recent game, 10 Seconds in Hell, is a first-person game about domestic violence. This is a response she wrote to a mainstream game developer about gamers “not being ready for transgender characters”. She didn’t exactly agree with him! The game of hers that she mentions, Rock Bottom, about depression and rebirth, may be of note. There’s also this podcast excerpt where she talks about the development of the game.


Dr. Shutkin







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