Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Posts Tagged ‘GameSetWatch’

Diamond in the Rough Column: Nervousness

Posted by deckard47 on December 12, 2009

My latest GSW article is up right here. It’s the second part in a soon-to-be three part series of articles on sexuality in games, but specifically in the not-so-new Prince of Persia and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. This one serves as a bridge between the first and third articles (oddly enough) and focuses more generally on sex in games. For a lot of you readers, it may seem kind of unambitious and obvious, but it felt like it belonged in this series, so that’s that. Here is an excerpt from the article, as always, to entice those not already convinced of the article’s excellence by its Aladdin-based moniker. Enjoy:

Video game designers, PR companies, and gamers are deeply worried about sex.

Now hear me out: the average “mainstream” game is both obsessed with a peculiarly fragmented (but extremely popular in mainstream culture) version of hypersexuality, and deathly afraid of more realistic, meaningful sexual connection. There’s a reason our games are filled with snarling, emotionless (aside from their totally straight love for their buddies) bros and women being crushed under the weight of their hypersexualized characterization.

People are very worried about sex. The worry may vary in its shape, orientation, and direction, but it is still something that makes a lot of people very nervous. They’re very worried about thinking about sex. They’re worried that thinking about sex, or consuming certain representations of sex will show them to be any of a number of deviant, unpopular, stigmatized representations of sexuality (or worse, to be party to those sexualities themselves).

Video games culture (at its most “hardcore”) is, after all, already a shunned, de-masculinized (in the public eye) subset of white guy culture. White men who are dorks or gamers have struggled to build up some new brand of masculinity (which will never be as good, white, and manly as proper mainstream masculinity, and white guy geeks know this) around their deplored hobby, and, as always, once they solidified that identity, they needed a new Other, a new group to define as being less than and harmful to the grand, old tradition of white male gaming. In the kingdom of the white gamer, anyone obviously not white and/or male, or anyone professing to enjoy sexuality not strictly in line with white heterosexuality is both a worry and a threat.

Already I see things I wish I’d written differently or changed (for instance, “anyone professing to enjoy sexuality” should be “anyone professing to enjoy or regularly partake in,” or anyone who is suspected of enjoying and partaking in,” obviously), so forgive me if it fails in places. I am ever endeavoring to mend my ways. Until the next post.

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Absolutely Shameless Me-Talk

Posted by deckard47 on June 12, 2009

The new Diamond in the Rough (that name seemed silly then, and it seems silly now, but what are you going to do) column is up at GameSetWatch. I really liked this one, it grew out a conversation Owen and I had about some articles we were both reading, and the games we were playing (and wish we were playing!). Here’s a bit of it, it’s all about plot, narrative, and games:

There’s a future for “emergent narratives” not just in story spaces and their ilk, but in further developments in narrative proper. Thus, I want to claim that “narrative” is and always will be distinct from the kind of storytelling that we will see in story spaces, and that the future that both narratives and story spaces have in gaming will allow exciting, “emergent” narrative forms in both categories, not just the more freeform, less scripted world of story spaces. I also think that there are crucial aspects of storytelling that can only be accomplished with the aid of narrative, and can’t with largely user-generated content from story spaces. But to make this claim, we need to more fully explore what’s meant by “emerging narrative” and “story space,” and get a better sense of what narrative really is, and how it differs from the first two.

I know. So exciting. As I said, this came out of thinking and talking about Steve Gaynor’s articles, some Clint Hocking discussions, Doug Church’s presentation, and other arguments happening here and there. Owen (at Bonaroo, the lucky asshole) tells me the new Edge has three articles about similar stuff, so I guess all around I’m in good company? Hope you all find it interesting (really, I hope you do, because there’s at least one more piece that’s going to follow this one).

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