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Games and Culture
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.625
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 31  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1555-4120 - ISSN (Online) 1555-4139
Published by Sage Publications Homepage  [1176 journals]
  • Enjoying the Uncertainty. How Dark Souls Performs Incompleteness Through
           Narrative, Level Design and Gameplay

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      Authors: Angelo Maria Andriano
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The application of the Theory of Information to the works of art can show why incompleteness and ambiguity offer a more engaging experience to readers and users. But when ambiguity becomes a deliberate strategy of the work, it becomes difficult to understand how to interpret it: in this article I argue that the correct way to interpret a work that makes incompleteness the rule of its poetics is to analyze how that strategy is conveyed throughout its basic grammar, without trying to solve the puzzles and contradictions that incompleteness and ambiguity inevitably produce. This is a relevant issue in the videogame Dark Souls as the basic elements of its grammar, level design, gameplay mechanics and narrative, offer the player the experience of incompleteness in different ways. In this article, I explain how the strategy of incompleteness works in Dark Souls and propose a framework for a Zen-wise interpretation of the game mechanics.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-02-07T07:28:32Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120241226837
       
  • Polish History up to 1795 in Polish Games and Game Studies

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      Authors: Michał Mochocki, Stanisław Krawczyk, Aleksandra Mochocka
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Situated within historical and regional (CEE) game studies, this article is an overview of games made in Poland after 1989 about Polish history up to the eighteenth century. It also outlines research made on those games, and it comments on changing cultural and political factors shaping the development of Polish history/heritage-themed games over the last three decades. We group the games in thematic-chronological categories: early medieval Slavic settings up to 1000, medieval to Renaissance Poland, and Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569–1795. Main findings: (a) Slavic fantasy became very popular with game developers after Witcher 3, but it has received little scholarly attention beside the witcher series. (b) Medieval Polish monarchies have barely caught the eye of game developers, which translates to the absence of related research. (c) The PLC period is well-represented in digital and nondigital games, and well-researched in historical games studies by Polish scholars in Polish and English.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-02-05T07:06:38Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120241228490
       
  • Gamification is not Working: Why'

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      Authors: John Dah, Norhayati Hussin, Muhamad Khairulnizam Zaini, Linda Isaac Helda, Divine Senanu Ametefe, Abdulmalik Adozuka Aliu
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Gamification is a trending topic in the scientific community. It is the art of incorporating game elements and game design principles into non-game context. The phenomenon has garnered tremendous attention especially in the field of education and academics. Yet, since it appeared a decade ago, its ascension both in education and other domains hasn’t been uniform, with several failed and inconclusive results. Consequently, scholars have, over the years, made several efforts to probe why gamification isn’t succeeding as hoped. We attempt, therefore, to contribute to this effort by reviewing and discussing some of the core reasons why gamification seems to be faltering in the field of learning and education. Our findings revealed four (4) factors why gamification could be failing. Shallow gamification which is the simplistic and surficial application of game elements on a learning system or activity without transforming the core experience is one determinant. Overjustification effect, the excessive and arbitral use of rewards (extrinsic motivators), which hampers intrinsic motivation is another success determinant. The ‘badges, points, and leaderboards (BPL) gamification’ (or BPL triad) which refers to the use of basic game elements such as the badges, points, and leaderboards is also one reason gamification is still struggling. Lastly, the overreliance on narrow models and theories to explain or design gamified experiences is identified as a factor for gamification haziness. Our study suggests several antidotes to these highlighted challenges, such as deep intentional designs that transcend surface-level implementation of game elements (what is called ‘deep gamification’). Amidst the spree of excessive extrinsic rewards anyhow, we propose a careful consideration of implementing reward-based game elements, especially in multiple learning settings. Again, a move-away from the narrow and overly used models such as the self-determination theory, and flow theory could open success pathways. As we believe, narrow theoretical lens through which gamification is often viewed serves as a limiting factor, impeding the field's progression and obscuring the full potential of gamification as an approach.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-31T05:33:30Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120241228125
       
  • “As if Possessed by a Demon”: Subjectivity, Possession, and Undeadness
           in Metal Gear Solid

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      Authors: Steven Kielich, Chris Hall
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Engaging with psychoanalysis and philosophy, this essay maps the collapse of human sovereignty in Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid video game series by pursuing the figure of the liquid hand that moves between characters, undercutting identity and selfhood. A unique theoretical intervention in the discourses of posthumanism and deconstruction, this essay carves out a coenesthetic intervention into the malleability of the human shape and reimagines how Game and Media Studies can equip us to analyze the relationships between self and other, bodily modification, prosthetics, and violence. Playing out the threat of agential uncertainty and destabilizing the safe markers of self and other through which life and bodies define themselves in media, the series establishes a Geschlecht, a genre and community all its own, but one predicated upon the disorganization and defamiliarization of subjectivity.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-19T06:54:36Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120241226828
       
  • War and Esport: The Russian Invasions Impact on the Performance of
           Ukrainian and Russian Professional Players

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      Authors: Cornel Nesseler, Viktor Shtrum
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Understanding and assessing worker performance is of major sociological and economic interest. This importance is mirrored in the extent of research that analyzes incentives and behavioral traits influencing worker performance. Most of this research focuses on workers in a peaceful or stable environment. However, a large share of the global population works in a country that is at war. To examine the situation of workers in such a vulnerable situation, micro-level data is necessary but often unavailable. Esports is an exception as data regarding professional players – workers – is accessible. Here, we examine how Ukrainian and Russian professional players behave before and since the Russian invasion. Contrary to popular thinking, we find a sizable improvement in performance. For Ukrainians, the effect is especially prominent for live events, and for Russians, for online events. Our results demonstrate that the behavior of professional gamers rapidly changed after the occupation.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-18T07:41:21Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231224513
       
  • Identifying Playfulness: An Empirical Study on How Adults Recognize and
           Define Playfulness Across Culture

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      Authors: Leland Masek
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Playfulness is a critical concept for the study of games, play, and adult well-being. Empirical and theoretical works have argued for the major influence it has in adult lives around the globe. Despite these affirmations, one of the most commonly described barriers for further work is that there remains little clarity on how playfulness can be identified in diverse contexts. Most definitions are created for narrow applications with little evidence that they apply to other contexts. The inability to identify playfulness, especially across culture, thus remains a major gap for modern researchers. This work addresses this gap with 50 interviews by adults from 38 countries around the world on how they identify playfulness in their own life. Adults across culture identify playfulness with four characteristics: Active Behavior, Emotional Reinforcement, Social Sharing, and Non-Serious Framing. This four-part framework creates a clarifying and innovative vocabulary for future works on playfulness.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-18T01:41:48Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231226262
       
  • Blockchain Potentials for the Game Industry: A Review

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      Authors: Golshid Jaferian, Darya Ramezani, Michael G. Wagner
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the adoption and recognition of blockchain technology. The increasing demand for blockchain technology has led to its swift development and widespread adoption across various sectors, including the gaming industry. The potential implications of this nascent technology in the realm of digital games are considerable, yet it is crucial to acknowledge the absence of scholarly investigations regarding blockchain games. To bridge the current research gap, this study's objective is to conduct an in-depth review of the potential uses of blockchain technology in gaming.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-11T06:09:47Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231222578
       
  • Profiles, Perceptions, and Experiences of Video Game Translators

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      Authors: Amir Arsalan Zoraqi, Mohsen Kafi
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The nuances involved in game localization call for an expert workforce, well-versed in dealing with the challenges involved. Yet, the prospect of game localization is still a blue-water area of research and not much is known regarding the profiles and the current industry practices. Thus, the present study seeks to throw light on the profiles, perceptions, and experiences of game translators. A total of 125 game translators provided qualitative and quantitative data regarding the various aspects of the profession through a 25-item online questionnaire. The findings point to a relatively young, highly educated, and mostly self-employed workforce who undertake translation as their main source of income and have a strong gaming background. The strengths and the weaknesses of the current workflow practices are identified and discussed, and suggestions are made drawing on the perceptions and experiences of game translation practitioners.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-05T10:15:42Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231223329
       
  • The Ground Floor Approach to Video Game Accessibility: Identifying Design
           Features Prioritized by Accessibility Reviews

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      Authors: Sky LaRell Anderson
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article describes the priorities for accessibility found in video game accessibility reviews. Through an analysis of 20 articles published by the accessibility review websites DAGERSystem.com and CanIPlayThat.com, this study categorizes the accessibility features in those articles in order to discover which accessibility features are the most important to reviewers, gauged by how many words are dedicated to addressing each feature. The study discovers 15 primary categories of accessibility most prominently features in these reviews. Word counts for each category provide a prioritized list of which accessibility features are the most central to video game accessibility. This article concludes by introducing the ground floor approach to video game accessibility, which calls for subtitles, difficulty settings, control options, and visual clarity as essential features in modern game design.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-05T08:38:02Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231222580
       
  • Video Games Interventions to Reduce Radicalization and Violent Extremism
           in Young People: A Systematic Review

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      Authors: Fatima Lopez Naranjo, Miguel A. Maldonado, Esther Cuadrado, Manuel Moyano
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The development and consumption of video games have experienced a significant boom in recent decades. Recently, attention has been paid to the impact they can have on young people and how extremist and radical groups are using them to recruit and reinforce hateful ideas and behaviors. It would be innovative to use this powerful tool to prevent and educate on values and rights, thereby reducing prejudices toward the outgroup. Therefore, the present systematic review aims to gather and systematize existing knowledge on video game-based interventions to reduce and prevent extremism and violent radicalization in young people, following the PRISMA method, analyzing a total of six articles. The results indicate that such interventions can reduce prejudiced behaviors toward outgroup individuals and increase resilience, empathy, and prosocial interactions. However, further exploration in this field is necessary to better understand the mechanisms involved and improve video game designs for preventive purposes.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2024-01-03T05:47:18Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231223067
       
  • From Aesthetics to Asymmetry: Contradictions of Ecological Play in Cities:
           Skylines

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      Authors: Lawrence May, Ben Hall
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Anchored in the Anthropocene era's paradigm of human mastery over nature, Cities: Skylines grants its players extensive agency to shape untouched terrains into sprawling cities. We draw upon “ecological thought”—a mode of awareness that highlights the radical interconnectedness of all beings and their environments—to consider the ecological dynamics of city-building by the game's players. Analyzing player-generated paratexts from online game communities reveals that while many players aspire toward ecocentric city designs, they instead inadvertently restage the asymmetric planetary relationship emblematic of our current era. Our analysis uncovers the capital-driven assumptions that characterize human–environment relations in the game. Attempts at ecocentric aesthetics invariably subsumed by cybernetic interactions that privilege the Anthropocene's prevailing power dynamics. These expressions highlight the inherent contradictions of the Anthropocene era as encountered in Cities: Skylines and illustrate the permeability between the contemporary material world and digital play.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-12-15T07:55:07Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231219729
       
  • Hey, You! The Importance of Pragmatics in Localizations of Mass Effect in
           French and Spanish

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      Authors: Alexander Stainton, Seán G. Roberts, Stephanie Rennick
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The localization of video game dialog for diverse audiences is challenging because of differences in linguistic features between languages and pragmatic norms between cultures. For example, localizers must decide how to translate the English second-person singular pronoun “you” into languages that have a pragmatic distinction between formal and informal pronouns (e.g., “vous” and “tu” in French). These distinctions are used in social interaction to signal politeness, respect, and social distance, which are important elements that shape player experience in role-playing games. We analyze the dialog from French and Spanish localizations of Mass Effect and show they have strikingly different strategies for translating pronouns. French mostly uses formal pronouns while Spanish mostly uses informal pronouns. We explain how these differences affect player experience and argue that effective localization requires a clear strategy for dealing with pragmatics. We conclude by making practical suggestions for how game creators can better support localization.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-12-13T05:21:41Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231218046
       
  • Lovecraftian Games: The Afterlife of Cthulhu on Valve's Steam Client

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      Authors: Prema Arasu
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Today, H. P. Lovecraft's popular culture legacy resides in the shared world of the Cthulhu Mythos and in the iconography of its monsters. Rather than attempt to definitively identify what makes something Lovecraftian, this paper takes a reception theory informed approach to investigate the ways in which the user-defined ‘Lovecraftian’ tag is applied on Steam. This paper identifies the recurrence of sanity mechanics, tentacularity, and parody in the games that users have tagged as ‘Lovecraftian’ and discusses how these elements adapt and respond to Lovecraft's mythos and cosmicist philosophy. The Lovecraftian games available on Steam, as they have been identified by their consumers, indicate that the digital game is a worthwhile platform for adaptations of the works of H. P. Lovecraft due to the interactivity offered by the medium. However, many of these games also contain subversive or parodic elements that undermine Lovecraft's cosmicism.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-12-13T03:42:21Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231217538
       
  • The Mukokuseki Strategy and the Application of Pivot Translation in the
           Localization of Japanese Games

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      Authors: Xiaochun Zhang, Huawei Song
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article investigates the impact of using pivot language on the quality of game localization via a case study on the Japanese game Dark Souls 3. It first discusses the indirectness of the source text and the complexity of the target text in game localization by highlighting the “born translated” nature of the game narrative design. It then explicates the intricacy of having game audio voiced over in English only and including both direct and indirect translations in the localization workflow. It demonstrates the complication in evaluating localization quality from players’ perspectives and suggests that using English as a pivot language has certain advantages in ensuring multimodal cohesiveness in game localization. The rationale behind the localization approach is then explored through the lens of the mukokuseki strategy, which suggests that the application of pivot translation is driven by market globalization and, ultimately, the pursuit of economic gain.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-11-27T07:39:29Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231216545
       
  • Experience in Videogame Display: An Extension of the Matrix Model

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      Authors: Carl Harrington
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Niklas Nylund argued that videogames lacked a coherent descriptive framework required to understand their complex position as museum artifacts. He proposed a matrix model consisting of three overlapping aspects of games display: objects, context, and experience. Although a starting point for exploring the role of videogames in museums, this required further detailed analysis. The present article extends the matrix model by exploring the area of ‘experience’, separating this aspect of display into three sub-categories: (a) playable experience, (b) collective experience, and (c) situational experience. These sub-categories of experience are discussed regarding videogame display in European museums. It is argued that this extended view of experience, rather than distracting from contextual information, is central to videogame display. Extending this category beyond playable games enables exhibitions to use the area of experience within a wider framework.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-11-27T07:39:00Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231209801
       
  • High Fantasy RPGs and the Materiality of the Medieval Book

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      Authors: Bard Swallow
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article describes the use of the materiality of the medieval book as a trope of medievalism in neomedieval games. It argues that the materiality of the hybrid writing/printing book culture evoked in these games does not correspond with any given historical period, not even the late 15th-century technical transition from writing to print culture; instead, the games synthesize a variety of details from separate historical periods into a coherent neomedieval book culture that supports player immersion. The player's relationship with this neomedieval book culture is fostered through representations of the materiality of the medieval book, though this materiality can be represented in images or in text, in the game environment or in the user interface. Handling manuscripts and deciphering texts is an important component of the fantasy sought by the audience of neomedieval role-playing games.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-11-20T05:55:51Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231214331
       
  • Problematic Gaming at a Crossroad: Exploring the Interplay Between
           Internet Gaming Disorder, Toxic Attitudes, and Empathy in Digital
           Entertainment

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      Authors: Enrico Gandolfi, Richard E. Ferdig, Karlie Krause, Amy Copus, Sarah Ostrowski-Delahanty, Sonia Alemagno
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      It is becoming more common to use Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) to measure problematic gaming in online environments. However, there is limited data examining the role of empathy and toxicity in IGD. In addition, little attention has been given to the role of the social element of online gaming communities and its influence on these factors. This article aims to address this gap by presenting the results of a cross-sectional study involving 567 online players who completed an online survey about their gaming habits. More specifically, participants were recruited from four different game communities and asked to complete the Internet Gaming Disorder Scale—Short Form, a toxicity-related questionnaire, and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index. Comparisons between the four game communities were also explored. Findings pointed at significant associations between toxicity, empathy, game community, and IGD, suggesting additional research opportunities and counter strategies for preventing negative experiences with online gaming.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-11-15T08:17:49Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231211991
       
  • Fear of Monsters: Toward an Understanding of the Threat of the
           Computational Monster Read Through the Theoretical Lens of Game-Play

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      Authors: Lasse Juel Larsen, Bo Kampmann Walther
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article analyzes the configuration of fear generated by the computational monster in computer games. We view the monster as a computational entity, which we approach through our theory of game-play coupled with the concepts of loss aversion and endowment effect. Of particular interest is player perception of the threat posed by monsters as they perturb the experience of progression and the sensation of control within the game. We scrutinize this aspect from a situational as well as an existential perspective. Furthermore, we advance an analytical scheme of the threat of the computational monster, which is radically different from the traditional academic approach with its emphasis on the representation of monsters. Overall, we argue that the threat players perceive when facing monsters in computer games springs more from the computational nature of monsters—how they upset progression and the feeling of control—and less from the representation of the monster(s).
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-11-14T06:20:55Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231211376
       
  • Finish—Spare the Shame: Realism of Hellish Quart and Alt-Sarmatian
           Ideology

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      Authors: Tomasz Z. Majkowski, Magdalena Kozyra, Aleksandra Prokopek
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article provides in-depth analysis of Hellish Quart: a fighting game set in 17th century Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and cherished for its realism, vis-a-vis Neosarmatian ideology of the Polish alt-right: the current iteration of centuries-old origin myth of Polish nobility. While we do not consider the game a willing participant in the proliferation of Alt-Sarmatian ideas, we claim the pervasiveness of Sarmatism within Polish national identity makes it difficult not to consider the conservative approach to national history a “realistic one.” In this article, we present the shortened history of both Sarmatian myth and the special place sabre-fighting occupies in Polish culture, and utilize them to understand ideological entanglement of the “realism” offered by Hellish Quart regarding the vision of the past and the mechanics of combat.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-11-08T06:24:25Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231210599
       
  • Becoming a Xia: Constructing Cultural Identity in the History of Wuxia
           Games in China

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      Authors: Tianming Cao, Hongya Zhou, Anqi Feng
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This study examines Chinese Wuxia games (martial arts) as cultural artifacts, utilizing a cultural historical approach to analyze their textual content and gameplay in order to explore the construction of cultural identity. I investigate the localization of early games and identify the cultural consciousness of early producers between 1990 and 1995. Through decoding cultural symbols, this research reveals the fixed cultural sources and components of cultural identity from 1995 to 2003. From 2004 to 2009, I examine how the industry's overall decline resulted in fatalism being projected onto the game design, leading to the integration of Wuxia games with contemporary culture and historical characteristics. Between 2010 and 2021, with the growth of player subjectivities, the construction of player identity reveals the fluid nature of cultural identity. This study also identifies three layers of Xia (martial arts hero) identity, including group affiliation, judgment, and creed.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-11-06T06:18:07Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231208735
       
  • Ecocritical Agency in I Was a Teenage Exocolonist

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      Authors: Sarah Freye
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In this article, I offer an ecocritical approach to video games that can help analyze how game designers can use choice-based game mechanics to offer audiences a way to confront humanity's role in the climate crisis. I Was a Teenage Exocolonist seamlessly integrates gameplay and narrative to help players cultivate new understandings about the anthropocene: “It takes little effort to render a planet inhospitable, but significant dedication to restore it” (Exocolonist, Age 13).
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-31T06:23:28Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231209804
       
  • Aesthetics, Engagement, and Narration: Temporal Constraint as an
           Articulator of Ludo-Narrative Time

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      Authors: Cristian Parra Bravo
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Mechanics and narrations must be in the appropriate consonance to keep gamers engaged with the game; here is where time structures become crucial. Based on bibliographical revision and empiric observation, this work proposes the idea of temporal constraints as a concrete design variable that allows designers and researchers to measure and analyze how the game systems regulate progression time of players in the game. Temporal constraints are presented as a techno-aesthetic ludo-narrative component of video games; it combines the ludic and narrative aspects of the game. As a result, critical aspects of the new concept are clarified, and future research ideas are outlined.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-18T06:38:25Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231206429
       
  • Virtual Allies: Why Allyship is Critical to Diversification of Virtual
           Reality Gaming'

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      Authors: Danielle Deavours
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      More attention is being brought to the identity challenges minority gamers face. However, as the gaming industry moves into virtual spaces and virtual reality (VR) gaming continues to grow in popularity, it is important to understand how identity and the virtual metaverse combine. Using a carnal autoethnography of a competitive woman VR gamer's lived experiences with sexism and misogyny over 6 months, this study explores how many women experience VR games as outsiders in a male-dominated space. Through the application of ambivalent sexism theory, this study shows virtual platform affordances can both help and harm minority gamers in their quest to be accepted in gaming communities. This study is among the first to examine gendered experience of VR gaming, especially from an autoethnographic frame, contributing to existing literature in women and gaming. This work calls on players, developers, educators, and research to emphasize allyship and media literacy to encourage more diverse virtual spaces.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-17T04:13:42Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231208406
       
  • The Technological Mediation of Collective Memory Through Historical Video
           Games

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      Authors: Ștefania Matei
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article discusses how genre-related procedural rhetorics might be employed in video games to (re)shape the way we think about history. The theoretical interpretation follows a postphenomenological line of inquiry in understanding how the sense of collective memory is shaped across playable environments. Through their medium-specific characteristics, historical video games define the nature of the representations through which history is brought to human experience and knowledge. However, collective memory should be understood neither as a process of recall nor as an aesthetics of historiophoty, but, rather, as a phenomenon of technological mediation: historical video games disclose the reality of the past as “a world to be remembered” and shape humans as “remembering subjects” in morally relevant ways. Therefore, video games based on history participate in the politics of remembrance and play a powerful role in the governance of mnemonic subjectivity by activating and reifying contingent norms of commemoration.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-17T04:13:23Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231206862
       
  • The Table and the Tomb: Positioning Trans Power and Play Amid Fantasy
           Realism in Dungeons & Dragons

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      Authors: PS Berge
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article contends with the transphobic logics perpetuated by the “world's greatest roleplaying game,” Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Bringing together game texts and scraped social media data from reactionary D&D fans, I argue that despite cursory improvements in official representation, D&D's hostility to trans play is inscribed in the game's engagement of fantasy realism—a culturally sculpted “common sense” that rearticulates the logics of established fantasy media. From sex-swap curses in Gygax's “Tomb of Horrors” (1978) to the shapechanging “blessed elves of Corellon” (2017), D&D's approach to fantasy realism mechanically and narratively excludes trans bodies, vilifies trans stories, and diminishes trans power. Drawing on the work of analog game and trans media scholars, I use this case study to center trans power in tabletop gaming and explore D&D's relationship with fantasy realism by asking Whose fantasy' and Whose reality'
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-11T08:50:20Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231204145
       
  • Corrigendum to “It's Not a Game! Rules of Notice and Hermeneutics of
           Suspicion in Contemporary FMV Games”

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      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.

      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-09T08:51:10Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231207175
       
  • “Video Games Were My First Safe Space”: Queer Gaming in the Animal
           Crossing New Horizons LGBTIQA+ Community

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      Authors: Vítor Blanco-Fernández, Jose A. Moreno
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article analyses LGBTIQA+ playing experiences of Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH). It first surveys LGBTIQA+ players of ACNH, with questions regarding ways of playing, identity, community, and fanfiction practices. It also analyses LGBTIQA+ ACNH YouTube videos, divided into three main categories: design, gaming, and fanfiction. The first category, design, is analyzed quantitatively. The second and third categories follow a qualitative analysis, grouping findings into seven subcategories: (a) decorating, (b) celebrating Pride, (c) counter-gaming, (d) weddings, (e) coming out, (f) self-determination and encouraging discourses, and (g) community building. Explorative results show that, although out-game LGBTIQA+ experiences are necessary for queer self-realization, the in-game experiences of our sample help non-cis-straight identities and communities. They also demonstrate that diversity and intersectionality are fundamental in the ACNH queer community sampled, and that LGBTIQA+ players perform queer counter-gaming: transforming the game's tools and affordances to encourage self-expression.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-05T05:20:31Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231205638
       
  • “Religious” and “Gamer”: Negotiating the Legitimacy of Video Games
           in a Muslim Context

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      Authors: Ömer Faruk Cengiz, Kemal Ataman
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Individuals who self-identify as “religious gamers” constitute a relatively new and niche category. This study aims to understand how these individuals evaluate their video game-playing activities in the face of their religious beliefs and commitments. To this end, we conducted semistructured interviews with 15 participants. The data suggests that for the participants, the religious status of video games is based on a broader evaluative framework than the religious one. The “vain act–beneficial act” dichotomy, which we conceptualized in this study, explains the difficulties and contradictions that religious gamers experience in legitimizing their gaming activities because they consider the game a vain act even though they play it with enthusiasm. Based on the evidence gathered, we concluded that religious gamers do not consider playing games illegitimate, either religiously or morally. However, they cannot conclusively legitimize it either—a delicate situation that drags them into a strange predicament.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-10-03T11:28:09Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231204146
       
  • Reflecting on Celeste: Abstracting Trans Representation

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      Authors: Kyle McPhail
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Transgender representation is a complex subject and what constitutes “good” and “bad” representations has been scrutinized by trans, feminist and queer scholars, as well as fans of visual culture. A significant case study in trans representation and interpretation is the platformer Celeste (2018). The game's passionate and active fandom began to speculate about the potential trans narratives present in the game, including whether the main character, Madeline, was a trans woman. In 2020, game director Maddy Thorson confirmed that Madeline was trans. While many fans celebrated this retroactive identification, the value of Celeste as a trans artwork lies beyond Madeline's trans body. This article argues that, while representation matters, abstract or conceptual trans representation is an important tool that avoids conditional and limited trans representations that rely on a specific type of body. ion centres experience, allowing for more creative, playful and intersectional ways of art becoming trans.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-29T10:28:37Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231204148
       
  • “I think I Get Why y’all do this Now”: Reckoning With Elden Ring's
           Difficulty in an Online Affinity Space

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      Authors: Bradley Robinson, André Czauderna, Sam von Gillern
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The purpose of this study was to understand how players reckon with relentlessly challenging video games by exploring their interactions in a game-specific affinity space. The authors conducted a qualitative thematic analysis of a focal discussion thread on r/EldenRing, a Reddit community, to examine how players lend each other support in response to the game's mechanical, affective, and interpretive difficulty. The findings demonstrate how affinity spaces can play an important role in helping players navigate challenging games like Elden Ring by providing a space for them to strategize, vent, joke, and even philosophize about their experiences with the game. Through this study, the authors suggest that game designers might extend their design perspectives to consider players’ metagaming practices in affinity spaces, where they support one another to construct meaning of their suffering, perhaps leading to more players, more joy, and more joyful players.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-27T07:59:51Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231203134
       
  • Let's Meetup' Board Game Communities in Hong Kong

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      Authors: Johnathan Harrington
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Modern board games are becoming more prevalent, increasing their market share on a year-by-year basis. However, since board games are physically oriented media, their community growth has been distinct across regions. While China saw growth through a wangba model focused on socially oriented games, western countries have grown through hobbyism. Hong Kong exists at a cultural crossroads, and its board game communities form directly in response to this larger board game landscape. In this paper, I analyze the two largest board game groups on Meetup in Hong Kong—Board Game Oasis, an Anglophone group; and BGHK, a Cantophone group. By analyzing six months of events hosted, I will show how board game selection goes beyond player preference, and how these communities are heavily influenced by board game distribution and access, motivation behind play, as well as language dependency leading to two distinct communities further entrenching a systemic board gamer separation.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-25T05:00:14Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231202707
       
  • Social Networking or Social Isolation' A Systematic Review on
           Socio-Relational Outcomes for Members of Online Gaming Communities

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      Authors: Tushya, Dinesh Chhabra, Betina Abraham
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Recent technological advancements, increased access to gaming setups, and the emergence of free-to-play multiplayer games have contributed to a dramatic rise in the number of players gaming online and subsequently becoming a part of gaming communities. This systematic review explored the impact of being in an online gaming community on socio-relational outcomes, and variables that impacted the relation between gaming community membership and socio-relational outcomes. After screening PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, and Web of Science, 24 articles (15,451 players) were included. Results showed a predominantly positive influence of community membership on socio-relational outcomes of friendship, social skills, and social capital. Community-related variables (community size, social interaction, aim of community formation) and game characteristics that interacted with the gaming community (collective play, cooperation, learning to achieve game objectives) impacted the relationship between community membership and social capital. For some players, however, online social capital increased at the expense of offline social capital.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-20T11:15:18Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231201760
       
  • Play and Misinformation: How America's Conspiracy Culture Became Gamified

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      Authors: Justin A. Bortnick
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In this article, the author draws upon their own experience as a commercial alternate reality game designer and interviews with other working professionals, examining how the form moved from its origins as outsider art into the realm of commercial production and then beyond that as a tool of political influence. The article traces the long history of misinformation and conspiracy in American politics and demonstrates how the introduction of entertainment industry design methodologies has altered the production of disinformation campaigns. From Andrew Jackson and the New York Slave Conspiracy of 1741 through Gamergate and QAnon, the article argues that while conspiracy has always been a central part of American culture, the introduction of modern game design has altered the landscape, and that only by recognizing how our work as designers is being co-opted can we can begin to work to prevent additional social harms.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-20T10:29:57Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231203859
       
  • The Problem of Memory in the Assassin's Creed Series (2007–2020)

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      Authors: Robson Scarassati Bello
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The purpose of this paper is to examine how History and Memory are depicted in the video game series Assassin's Creed from 2007 to 2020. These games aim to recreate various historical periods by immersing the player's character from the present into the memories of their ancestors’ using technology. Assassin's Creed portrays the past through specific means: a narrative conveyed through events, spatially explorable environments, and, most importantly, the ability to interact with these elements. The series presents a supposedly multicultural perspective by offering its own interpretations of “historical truth” and collective memory. I argue contend that cultural products, when reinterpreted in the context of contemporary discussions and their own unique format, significantly influence the perception of certain historical moments in the collective imagination.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-20T10:29:37Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231202720
       
  • The Proteus Effect: Overview, Reflection, and Recommendations

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      Authors: Yansheng Liu
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Avatars are an integral element in most virtual environments including virtual reality and video games, and the Proteus effect initially proposed by Yee and Bailenson (2007) is a framework that explains the psychological effects of individuals’ digital self-representation, which theorizes that the traits of avatars would affect individuals’ behavior and cognition accordingly. Although research on the Proteus effect has been fruitful over the years, this line of research also showed inconsistencies over whether the effect is significant, the direction of how avatars affect individuals, as well as its theoretical explanations, which suggests a lack of elucidation on the cognitive processes underlying the Proteus effect. Hence, this paper provides an overview of the Proteus effect research and offers a reflection on the current literature regarding the theoretical basis, empirical evidence, and methodological approaches of the Proteus effect research. Finally, this study provides three recommendations for future research on the Proteus effect.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-20T10:29:10Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231202175
       
  • Exoplanetary Exploration and the End of the World in 22 Minutes:
           Philosofiction in Outer Wilds

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      Authors: Eduardo Luersen, Julieth Paula
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In this essay, we work over the imageries of exoplanetary exploration in digital games, observing their connections with concepts from media theories and science fiction studies. This articulation aims to comprehend how, in a philosofictional manner, games fictionally extrapolate the conditions of possibility for astronomical observation, allegorizing a series of contemporary themes regarding the technoscientific knowledge of space and planetary systems. As an analytical procedure, we observe game assets, images, and design dynamics, articulating them theoretically in three axes: technoscientific paraphernalia, compared planetology, and oblique orbits. With this, we understand how games can creatively approach (and, in the light of science fiction, extrapolate) contemporary relationships between science, technology, and society.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-16T09:53:36Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231200396
       
  • Gaming Capital on Overwatch's Official Forums

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      Authors: Henry Korkeila, Steven Dashiell, J. Tuomas Harviainen
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This study uses the public discussion boards of Overwatch to see how context-based gaming capital is present, accumulated and expended through the messages. The data consists of a 1-month snapshot from which 50 most viewed threads were analyzed. The following aspects were recorded from each thread and first 10 replies: views, number of comments, users’ role in forums, has the developer replied to thread, topic, date, whether there are types of capital (social, economic, cultural, symbolic) present, and in what linguistic form is the message posted. Findings: while discussions are within Overwatch's framework, there is scarcely any demonstrable amount of gaming capital in a single post or reply. Certain topics elicited more discussion, articulation methods varied but greatly leaned on the user's anecdotal experiences. Further, it was found that gaming capital is used to validate users’ own views and argument for the credibility of the user and their messages.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-09-14T11:19:07Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231198890
       
  • The Use of Games in Citizen Science Based on Findings from the EyeWire
           User Study

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      Authors: Mirela Jaśkowiec, Małgorzata Kowalska-Chrzanowska
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The article addresses the use of games for citizen research. Following the results of the EyeWire user research, the authors attempt to answer the question of the impact of introductory game training on task performance, identify the areas with the most significant effect on participants’ performance, and assess users’ impressions and level of engagement in the proposed working model. A survey method was used to investigate user impressions. Fixation data were obtained from eye-tracking studies. The research shows, that users with experience with computer games do better in scientific discovery games. The main reasons to engage in this type of project are the need for learning development and self-development. The results indicate a significant cognitive strain on users, notably in the initial phase of solving tasks independently. It infers the conclusion that this should be considered when designing such programs and the pace of introducing the user to its functions should be adjusted.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-08-30T06:23:50Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231196260
       
  • Challenging Heroic Narratives of Polar Exploration in Indie Video Games

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      Authors: Alena Cicholewski
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      80 Days and South of the Circle feature storylines in which polar expeditions are not represented as places for the unfolding of heroized journeys; instead, their protagonists are confronted with the limits of their agency. In contrast to common pop cultural representations that turn polar exploration into a tale of individual white European men emerging triumphant over harsh nature, both video games in question emphasize the importance of cooperation for survival. The playable characters, French valet Jean Passepartout in 80 Days and British climatologist Peter Hamilton in South of the Circle, embark on their journeys to the Arctic and Antarctica, respectively, with high hopes of heroic discovery that are soon dashed by the harshness of the polar environments. As the games’ plots progress, a critique of the European imperialist-expansionist impetus of past polar expeditions emerges through the way their representation of European explorers addresses questions of nature, masculinity, and nation.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-08-18T07:52:48Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231196261
       
  • Is Death Only the Beginning' How People Mourn Artificial Characters in
           Social Media

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      Authors: Sercan Şengün, João M. Santos, Joni Salminen, Milica Milenkovic, Bernard J. Jansen
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      We analyze the audience response to the death of narrative-driven fictitious characters with predetermined fates, whether part of a virtual or cinematic story, and specifically from video games and TV series. Our aim is to contribute to the studies of identification and empathy with fictitious characters in media, as well as to close the research gap around these studies by specifically focusing on the death of the characters. We collected 3000 online comments on the deaths of 16 characters from video games and TV series. We coded each comment according to the five stages of grief by Kübler-Ross and Kessler and performed quantitative (using LIWC2015 psycholinguistic analysis software) and qualitative analysis (using thematic analysis). Overall, we found a strong resemblance between the processes of grief for real and fictitious characters and uncovered differences of language when discussing the death of a character based on (a) their gender; (b) their role in the story; (c) their interactivity mode; and (d) the form of media. Finally, qualitative analysis revealed unique and novel themes for on-screen deaths, such as (a) the effects of aural cues; (b) nostalgia and beauty; (c) resurrection and transmedia; (d) spoilers; (e) comparisons and real-life connotations; (f) the effects on the franchise; and (g) the effects of the gender of the viewer on these discussions. We discuss our findings in detail, along with implications for future character development.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-08-10T05:40:05Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231190195
       
  • Identification of Memorable Game Experiences: Analysis of Escape Rooms
           Visitors’ Experiences

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      Authors: Marek Nowacki, Andrzej Stasiak
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Escape room is a type of game in which players have to solve several puzzles to leave the room in a limited time. It is a relatively new form of recreation but thanks to the global diffusion of innovations, the game has reached all continents over the decade, gaining unprecedented popularity, especially in large cities. The article aims to identify and characterize the attributes of memorable game experiences (MGEs) of escape room customers in Budapest, Hungary (the eldest in Europe, well-established market for this entertainment). The paper attempts to define the components of MGEs innovatively, using text-mining analysis of big data. This study used mixed methods: quantitative and qualitative. The research material consisted of 6203 opinions on experiences in 29 escape rooms in Budapest posted on TripAdvisor. The main components of positive experiences of users of escape rooms are puzzles as well as the arrangement and decoration. Other key components of the experience include staff, storytelling, the value of service, ambience, and atmosphere. Memorable game experiences are strongly saturated with emotions, resulting from the players’ high involvement in the game and their full immersion in an artificially arranged problem situation. The obtained results indicate both the key areas necessary to create positive experiences and the elements resulting in the formation of negative experiences.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-08-08T06:08:40Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231190648
       
  • Fantasies of Adequacy: Mythologies of Capital in Dark Souls

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      Authors: Daniel M. Dooghan
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Dark Souls, FromSoftware's 2011 action-RPG, has become synonymous with extreme difficulty. The game's success and influence despite its ostensibly niche appeal make it an outlier in an era of increasingly accessible gaming. Yet in eschewing accessibility Dark Souls offers a different, compensatory appeal. Through an analysis of the game's aesthetics from philological, economic, and postcolonial perspectives, this research argues that Dark Souls’ gameplay constitutes an economic fantasy. The game's difficulty can be overcome in the manner celebrated by capital: hard work. Moreover, this fantasy offers a level playing field, a quantitative accounting of progress, and the opportunity to be better than one's neighbors. Dark Souls offers a fantastic economic simulation in which all of capital's demands are justly and predictably rewarded. It both legitimizes the mythologies of capital and invites players to content themselves with the precarious labor of the loyal employee rather than the power of the owners.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-08-03T06:24:28Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231192080
       
  • How Does Exposure to General and Sexual Harassment Relate to Female
           Gamers’ Coping Strategies and Mental Health'

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      Authors: Senya Wong, Rabindra Ratan
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Female gamers are often exposed to not only general harassment but also sexual harassment during online multiplayer games. Although studies have investigated the effects of harassment and associated coping strategies on the mental health of females within the workplace, comparable studies have not been conducted within online gaming environments. This study surveyed adult female gamers to assess the relationship between female gamers’ exposure to general and sexual harassment, coping strategies (i.e., self-blame, seeking help), and mental health (i.e., distress, anxiety). General and sexual harassment were positively associated with distress and anxiety. Self-blame and seeking help moderated the association of general harassment with distress and anxiety, respectively. Findings highlight the importance of considering the type and level of harassment when examining how coping strategies may moderate the effects of harassment on female gamers’ mental health.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-08-02T05:26:21Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231177600
       
  • A Typology of Metagamers: Identifying Player Types Based on Beyond the
           Game Activities

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      Authors: Juho Kahila, Teemu Valtonen, Sonsoles López-Pernas, Mohammed Saqr, Henriikka Vartiainen, Sanni Kahila, Matti Tedre
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Previous research on player profiles or types is based on players’ in-game behaviors and their motivations to play games. However, there are many other activities related to digital games beyond playing the games properly. Using learning analytics methods, the study investigates the prevalence and interconnections between these different metagame activities and classifies gamers based on their use thereof into distinct profiles. The results show that digital game–related information-seeking activities are key metagame activities with connections to other metagame activities. Three distinct profiles of players were identified based on their metagame activities: versatile metagamers, strategizers, and casual metagamers. The results contribute to the existing literature on metagaming and provide insights for game studies, game design and marketing, and digital games and learning.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-08-01T07:40:44Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231187758
       
  • Metamodern Nature of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding Synopsis and Gameplay

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      Authors: Simon Radchenko
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Games are valuable cultural phenomena — they might indicate social, cultural, and even political trends and agendas. Moreover, they might bare an accurate representation of a common structure of a feeling. Conversely, video games might be studied and understood based on up-to-date cultural trends, one of which is metamodernism. This paper contributes to determining what metamodern games in terms of synopsis and gameplay are. After considering the methodological features of studying video games from a metamodern perspective, it presents a metamodern study case of Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding. Examining oscillation, empathy, constructionism, and object-oriented relations in Kojima's game, the paper proves it to be a shining example of metamodern gaming. Furthermore, analyzing Death Stranding gameplay features from a metamodern perspective determines metamodern-related gameplay elements and strategies.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-26T05:54:56Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231187794
       
  • “A Crown is Warranted With Strength”: Bosses, Fantasy, and
           Democracy in Elden Ring

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      Authors: Mark Hines
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article examines the symbolic and discursive effects of the “final boss” trope in speculative and fantasy games. In contrast to our own world, the rulers, kings, and presidents of speculative games are often the most powerful individuals personally or physically, not just systemically. I employ political theorists Claude Lefort and Eric Santner to argue that the utilization of this trope allows audiences to safely engage with tensions and uncomfortable affects which are inherent to life in a democracy. Fighting bosses which are both monarch and the most powerful of their faction allows audiences to smooth frustrations with the symbolic and discursive chaos which often pervades democratic life. I examine one boss, Godrick the Grafted of Elden Ring, as a particularly fascinating example of this dynamic. I employ close readings of character dialogue and design to argue that such games serve a more concretized political function than scholars have identified.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-26T05:54:17Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231186476
       
  • Machina ex Dea, Dea ex Machina: Gaia/GAIA/All-Mother and Lugones’
           “World”—Traveling in Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)

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      Authors: Natalie J. Swain
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This paper demonstrates that through video game mechanics and internal narrative elements, Horizon Zero Dawn employs Greek mythology to encourage a perspective shift in the player who comes to inhabit the protagonist, Aloy's, worldview. While inhabiting Aloy, an outcast within her own storyworld, Horizon Zero Dawn subtly subscribes to the tenets of standpoint theory which privilege the perspective of the marginalized, and encourages the player to employ Lugones’ “world”-traveling, a skill in which marginalized knowers particularly excel. Horizon Zero Dawn thus engages with Greek mythology and uses the connection that is built between player and avatar to encourage the transcendence of the player situation and to employ Lugones’ “world”-travel in order to respectfully and lovingly engage with others, both within and without the game's storyworld.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-24T08:41:37Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231188241
       
  • “A Legend From Before You Were Born”: Final Fantasy VII,
           Folklore, and Popular Culture

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      Authors: Zlatko Bukač, Mario Katić
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In this article, we focus on the folklore created by the players and communities of the critically acclaimed and popular Japanese role-playing game Final Fantasy VII (Square Enix, 1997). The formation of what we call Final Fantasy VII fan folklore is presented here as a mixture of the game's transmediality (with official walkthroughs and guidebooks) and elements of the game kept secret by the developers (as well as several false rumors), which were carefully discovered and circulated by the players through an oral tradition (offline and later online) that circulate to this day. By conducting a narrative analysis of the official commercial for Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix, 2020), we argue that the creation of Final Fantasy VII fan folklore has become an important contemporary experiential feature of a nostalgic turn in the gaming industry, and we show that remakes and new editions of older popular products rely heavily on the specific new form of folklore that goes beyond one game.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-24T08:41:18Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231187753
       
  • Erratum

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      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.

      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-21T06:23:02Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231186679
       
  • Peace in the Valley: A Media and Discourse Analysis of Eric Barone's
           Stardew Valley Through Utopian Theory

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      Authors: Orrin Eric Lincoln Mackay, Catherine Anne Roberts
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Eric Barone's successful Stardew Valley game epitomizes the genre of farming role-play gaming. This article uses utopian theory to explore how the game economically and socially presents a liberal utopia that reimagines the 1990s with progressive values of the 2010s. Within the game, expenditure is encouraged to be communal, assigning value to socialist economics. Support for recreational cannabis usage is symbolically constructed through the character of Caroline, while queer love is established as both widely accepted and societally beneficial through dialogue with a local drunkard named Shane. Similar constructs of acceptance and acknowledgment are observable in the game's presentation of interracial relationships and mental health issues. In all cases, we concluded that this liberal utopia is reminiscent of Barone's home state of Washington, as the socioeconomic values promoted through the game tend to align with left-wing developments within the state.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-21T05:20:14Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231187793
       
  • Gaming I, II, and III: Arcades, Video Game Systems, and Modern Game
           Streaming Services

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      Authors: Ryan Banfi
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This paper aims to create a shorthand for video game history – from video games’ infancy to the current subscription model that is dominating gaming. In this essay, I will apply the practices of historical media scholarship that have helped parse out television history (e.g., TV I, TV II, TV III, and TV IV) and film history (e.g., Cinema 1, 2, and 3.0) to define the various shifts in video game history. Gaming I represents the arcade and home system boom up until the 1983 video game Crash, Gaming II describes the post-Crash console period, and finally, Gaming III materializes due to the arrival of modern video game subscriptions. Rather than constructing an exhaustive account of video game history, this essay means to generate more studies on what video game history can mean in the context of the established academic studies on visual media.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-18T06:13:29Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231186634
       
  • Experience, Rationality, Situation and Fallibilism: Establishing a
           Feminist Pragmatist Epistemology in Game Studies

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      Authors: Laureline Chiapello
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Since the seventies, the definition of scientific knowledge has undergone major shifts. However, game researchers do not sufficiently reflect upon those epistemological changes. This paper suggests that to make game studies more inclusive—for women especially and diverse voices in general—game researchers need to shift from traditional, objective epistemologies toward pragmatist ones instead. To support such an argument, this paper first focuses on the central concepts of pragmatist feminist epistemology: experience, rationality, situation and fallibilism. Those concepts are then used for a rereading of game studies epistemological stances. I argue that game studies initially adhered to traditional epistemologies, which formed hostile attitudes toward women and minorities in the field. On the contrary, several authors now develop their scholarship congruently with a feminist pragmatist epistemology. Their works are analyzed to observe how pragmatist feminist concepts concretely manifest in research.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-10T07:06:00Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231186265
       
  • Aesthetics of Agency and the Rhythm of Gameplay

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      Authors: Johan Kalmanlehto
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In this study I investigate aesthetics of agency in games in terms of rhythm. Following C. Thi Nguyen's theory of agency as the aesthetic medium of games, I suggest that the aesthetic experience of agency can be interpreted in terms of rhythm. First, I provide an overview of Nguyen's theory of games as the art of agency. By focusing on Nguyen's characterization of the aesthetic experience of agency, I highlight a need for a more detailed description of agential aesthetics. Second, I introduce a philosophical interpretation of rhythm as a distinction between form and flow. Finally, by using Elden Ring as an example I argue that an understanding rhythm as form in continuous motion captures the transient and mutable character of agency as the object of the player's aesthetic experience. Rhythm provides insight into the temporal nature of Nguyen's process aesthetics and explains how agency can have nonconceptual meaning.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-07-07T06:16:15Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231185630
       
  • Players Just Want to Have Fun' An Exploratory Survey on Hedonic and
           Eudaimonic Game Motives

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      Authors: Daniel Possler, Rowan Daneels, Nicholas D. Bowman
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Research has shown that seeking fun and enjoyment (i.e., hedonic reasons) motivates playing digital games. However, recent scholarship revealed that gaming also evokes eudaimonic entertainment experiences, such as meaningfulness and being moved. Yet, it is unclear whether players turn to games to have such eudaimonic experiences. Hence, the present study explored potential eudaimonic gaming motives in an online survey among fans (N = 894) of five yet-to-be-released games. Specifically, it was examined whether eudaimonic motives, derived from gaming research and scholarship in positive psychology, complement an existing scale measuring gaming motives. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (split-half method) demonstrated that “Eudaimonia” represents a distinct reason to play—alongside the well-known motives of “Absorption” and “Social Interaction.” Moreover, the Eudaimonia motive for using the five games was positively related to general eudaimonic orientations in life and trait-like eudaimonic game preferences. The results suggest that digital gaming may also be eudaimonically motivated.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-26T12:17:33Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231182498
       
  • Why and How to Define Educational Video Games'

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      Authors: Caitlin Cole, Roberto H. Parada, Erin Mackenzie
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      While the volume of education-based video game research has increased, the field has yet to settle on a consistent definition of educational video games (EVGs). Available definitions of video games do not account for the nuances of games used within education and have not been developed for that purpose. Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses have concluded that the lack of standardized definition is critically hampering a cohesive approach to research in this area. This article begins by reviewing the current scholarship on video game definitions and then suggests a definition for EVGs to improve research outcomes in the field. Given that the major potential of video game use in education is to improve learning, we advocate that educational research scholarship needs to develop a common foundational approach to defining EVG and associated educational technologies. We hope that this definition will advance the field by suggesting a common language and operationalization of EVGs.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-26T07:08:18Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231183495
       
  • “How is it that Someone Like You: paragon, Damn Near Saint; Could Love
           this World so Damn Much but No One in It'”: Horizon Zero Dawn's Aloy and
           the Disruption of Hetero-Amatonormative Benevolent Sexism in Female-led
           Games

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      Authors: Melissa L. Allen
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      While recent data from the Entertainment Software Association indicates there is close to a 50/50 split in gender identification of gamers between men and women, the environment created by stereotypical depictions of women in games as well as negative community interactions continue creating a hostile environment for women who identify as gamers. Since the 2010s, the presence of female playable characters in major studio games began to appear with polarized reception. Horizon Zero Dawn (2017) and Horizon Forbidden West (2022) require players to assume the role of Aloy, a female machine hunter and outcast without a male playable character option. Using Glick and Fiske’s concept of benevolent sexism and the three frames outlined in Schröter and Thon’s video game narrative analysis framework (narrative, ludic, and social), Aloy's narrative was analyzed to highlight how it disrupts amatonormative benevolent sexism in female-led games.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-24T09:46:04Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231179511
       
  • Mutants and Zombies Everywhere! Or Villains, Violence, and Selfishness:
           Questions of Humanity in the Post-apocalyptic (Pandemic) Video Game

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      Authors: Phil Wintle
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The post-apocalyptic environment has been popular in video games for many decades—from nuclear fallout to alien invasions, there is a fascination with the decline of mankind. This article looks, in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, at the depiction of failing and inhuman worlds in video games about pandemics. The environments in games such as Bioshock (2007), Left 4 Dead (2008, 2009), and The Last of Us (2013), are unflinchingly cruel, often depicting humans (and the player) as selfish entities seeking only self-survival. These environments are destructively violent, and, although the player is often surrounded by ‘mutants', these worlds are also oppressively lonely. This article looks at the fears reflected in pre-Covid-19 pandemic video games and what they say about our world, offering a retrospective view now we are living through a global pandemic perhaps not so different from those found in these games.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-23T06:07:33Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231182802
       
  • Esports Cannot Defeat Homophobia With Capitalism

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      Authors: Samantha Close
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Esports, competitive video gaming, is an emerging media industry looking to legitimize itself on the global stage. Part of its efforts include addressing a culture widely perceived as toxic. Toxic gamer culture claims hegemonic masculinity by degrading any seen as feminine, such as women and queer men; while this problem is endemic to gaming, it is particularly virulent in esports due to its struggles to be recognized as a “real” sport. The methods esports authorities have deployed to combat patriarchal homophobia, however, are insufficient. They share much with an anti-queer respectability politics that reinscribes the market as the ultimate cultural authority. An alternative approach would be one based on the principles of transformative justice, which emphasizes the humanity of both perpetrators and victims while demanding perpetrators take responsibility for the harm they cause. Transformative justice has already proved viable in game live-streaming, as seen by AnyKey's GLHF initiative.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-19T02:25:57Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231181462
       
  • Playing with Character: A Framework of Characterization in Video Games

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      Authors: Alexander Vandewalle, Steven Malliet, Kristoffel Demoen
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Characterization refers to the process of attributing character traits to narrative entities called 'characters'. While there is a long tradition of characterization theory in literary studies, the topic has not been examined extensively in game research. Based on insights from literary, film, and game studies, this article creates a theoretical model of how 'character,' or character traits, can be attributed in video games, and offers a methodological vocabulary for further character(ization) research. First, this paper synthesizes the tradition of characterization research in literary studies. Second, it identifies three participants in video game characterization (developers, actors, and players) and introduces the concept of ergodic characterization to describe those instances in which players produce nontrivial characterization efforts. Finally, the framework itself is presented through application to various game titles, and several answers to methodological problems within game characterization analysis are suggested.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-09T05:44:11Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231179496
       
  • Setting the Game Agenda: Reviewing the Emerging Literature on Video Gaming
           and Psychological Well-Being of Sexual and Gender Diverse Youth

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      Authors: Dane Marco Di Cesare, Shelley L. Craig, Ashley S. Brooks, Kaitrin Doll
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Video gaming is a popular youth pastime that has prompted scholarship into its relationship with psychological well-being. However, sexual and gender diverse youth (SGDY) who play video games are largely overlooked in this research. SGDY experience significant mental health challenges, but utilize coping strategies mediated by digital technologies, necessitating an examination of their video game playing and its effects on well-being. This literature review synthesizes the emerging evidence base by identifying key constructs related to SGDY well-being and video gaming. Five themes were derived from the literature: (a) SGDY identity development and self-expression in video games; (b) SGDY video gaming and coping skills; (c) Social support in SGDY video gaming communities; (d) SGDY digital microaggressions in video gaming; and (e) SGDY civic engagement through video gaming. The findings establish multiple risks and opportunities for harnessing video games to support SGDY's well-being. Recommendations for practice, research, and industry collaborations are presented.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-09T05:43:34Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231178883
       
  • It's Not Always About You: The Subject and Ecological Entanglement in
           Video Games

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      Authors: Nicky Heijmen, Joost Vervoort
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In the face of a global ecological crisis, culturally dominant framings of subjective experience as separate from living ecologies are no longer sufficient. Games might offer ways to break down these divisions. Alenda Chang has proposed bringing game ecologies to life. To complement her position, in this paper, we aim to inspire game designers and researchers to explore ways in which video games can remodel the perceived player subject as a pathway to ecological entanglement. We investigate four strategies for decentering and deconstructing the subject. These are: (1) deconstructing the subject to foreground internal sources of entanglement; (2) dismantling, distorting, ignoring, and/or invading the visual perspective; (3) conceptual deconstruction and reframing of a sense of self; and (4) decentering the subject through shifting contexts. For each of these, we introduce relevant examples of narrative and gameplay design in existing video games and suggest steps for further development in each direction.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-05T05:33:11Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231179261
       
  • Geographical Aspects of Open-World Video Games

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      Authors: Pablo Fraile-Jurado
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In recent years, open-world environments in video games have become increasingly popular and immersive. Millions of players are able to explore virtual landscapes that resemble the real world, yet significant differences exist. This study investigates the geographical accuracy of 15 open-world video games. The virtual landscapes in these games were analyzed for horizontal distance compression, increased slopes, idealized climate, simplified vegetation and water features, underpopulation, and spatial segregation of ethnic minorities. The findings show significant differences between the games in terms of their geographical accuracy, with some exhibiting a more realistic representation of the natural and cultural environment compared to others. This study sheds light on the relationship between virtual landscapes in video games and our perception of the real world, offering new insights into this rapidly growing field.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-05T05:32:12Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231178871
       
  • Making Complexity Measurable in Practice: A Formal Analysis of Gamble-Play
           media

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      Authors: Maarten Denoo, Bruno Dupont, Bieke Zaman, Eva Grosemans, Steven Malliet
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Over the past decade, videogames have become increasingly gambling-like in their design. Scientific and regulatory attempts to unravel such design seem particularly oriented towards the effects and regulatory treatment of paid-for loot boxes, favoring either measurability or complexity. Departing from gamble-play theory, this paper, therefore, attempts to make complexity measurable in practice. We conduct a formal analysis of 20 videogames that include loot boxes, social casino games, optional gambling-themed activities and token wagering by identifying and mapping interactions between their features. Having uncovered 51 features across 11 categories, we then reinterpret previously established notions of gambling. In doing so, we aim to contribute to a future-proof understanding of gambling in videogames.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-06-01T06:45:08Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231175615
       
  • Symbolic Violence in the Language of Game Descriptions of Blackness: The
           Case of Pathfinder

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      Authors: Steven Dashiell
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The present article analyzes the impact of discourses surrounding Black ethnicities in tabletop role playing games. I use discursive thematic analysis to examine the descriptions of individuals represented as Black in the Pathfinder game setting, a game system related to Dungeons & Dragons. I critically analyze descriptions in the game materials that discuss in-game Black ethnicities. I demonstrate how the discourse represents a symbolic violence surrounding blackness. While the descriptions provide imagery and word use to highlight the positive aspects of the characters, the overemphasis signals stereotypes of a conceptual “other.” These characters then become examples of “good Blacks” that differ from “bad” individuals. The positive imagery provokes a stereotype threat, and a need to uphold this “good Black” mentality, lest one becomes the Other. While thinking of race and ethnicity in tabletop gaming continues to evolve, even advancements fall into tropes which reinforce symbolic violence.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-30T08:15:20Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231176630
       
  • Video Games as Social Institutions

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      Authors: Dragoș M. Obreja
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.

      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-29T07:27:44Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231177479
       
  • Creative, Technical, Entrepreneurial: Formative Tensions in Game
           Development Higher Education

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      Authors: Brendan Keogh, Taylor Hardwick
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Higher education (HE) has become a common pathway into game development careers. Previous research with students and educators has shown how game development HE exemplifies a “creative industries” approach that seemingly marries technical and creative skills, professionalism and passion, and individualistic entrepreneurism and interdisciplinary collaboration. However, little research has considered the varied institutional contexts such students and educators find themselves entrenched in. In this article, we argue that game development HE does not simply marry the technical and creative but is instead torn between different disciplinary cultures, ideologies, and aims. Drawing from data on 119 game development HE programs in Australia, we show that while game development HE is consistently positioned as a pathway toward student employability, just what skills and identities are emphasized as crucial for such employability varies pending on the program's institutional context—ultimately showing that combining creativity and technology is neither a straightforward nor neutral process.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-29T07:27:05Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231176874
       
  • Towards Representational Adequacy: A Critical Analysis of Transgender
           Representation in Tell Me Why

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      Authors: Jackson McLaren
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      While transgender representation in media has improved in quantity over the last decade, the representation of transgender men in video games is still limited. In this work, I examine the character Tyler from the game Tell Me Why as a critical case study toward the representational adequacy of transgender people in video games. Through a focus on character design, narrative, paratexts, and game reception, I explore the ways Tyler is a more complex example of transgender representation. Additionally, I argue that the act of bringing transgender people into character creation results in a more complex representation.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-19T06:16:20Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231176634
       
  • Ludic Mechanics, Psychic Mechanisms and Explorations of “Inner Space”
           in Mindwheel and Psychonauts

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      Authors: Rob Mayo
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Robert Pinsky's Mindwheel (1984) and Tim Schafer's Psychonauts (2005) are dissimilar games in terms of player interface and ludic mechanics, but both participate in the creative tradition of “inner space,” which begins in science fiction literature and depicts the human mind metaphorically as a physical space which can be explored and interacted with. This essay examines how each game contributes to this tradition, with particular attention to how the mechanics of each game develops an adversarial or cooperative tone to the player's interaction with the game, and how this produces different forms of inner space exploration. This essay also draws on Lakoff's and Johnson's concept of “orientational metaphors” which are familiar from embodied experience and various conventional expressions, and examines how coherent each game's metaphors and narratives are.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-18T05:42:32Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231172614
       
  • Broken Promises Marketing. Relations, Communication Strategies, and Ethics
           of Video Game Journalists and Developers: The Case of Cyberpunk 2077

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      Authors: Piotr Siuda, Dariusz Reguła, Jakub Majewski, Anna Kwapiszewska
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Cyberpunk 2077's negative reception stood in striking contrast to the pre-release hype around the video game built by the producer's marketing campaign and the gaming press. This study examines a selection of gaming websites, to consider their pre-release Cyberpunk 2077 coverage and the discrepancies between these early reports and the released game. Using inductive conventional content analysis, framed as thematic analysis, 148 press articles were investigated divided into nine subcategories, and three categories. These articles told an almost exclusively positive narrative, promising great performance and features. The uncritical reception of publisher information by journalists allows the authors to propose the notion of “broken promises marketing”. The article contextualizes this term in the gaming ecosystem, arguing that over-optimistic marketing is amplified through features of the online press ecology. Finally, the results are considered from a business ethics perspective, with a set of communications recommendations for both journalists and game publishers.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-10T05:09:54Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231173479
       
  • A Transfiguration Paradigm for Quest Design

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      Authors: Steven Harris, Nicholas Caldwell
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Quest design is an important design aspect of video games. The current approach to quest design is dominated by a task-orientated paradigm in which a quest is viewed as a series of tasks to be completed as part of the narrative structure of the game. This paper presents an alternative paradigm that shifts away from the predominant task-based approach to quest design. Based on a study of existing quest models, a dual quest framework of singular and synergy quests is proposed. Within the frameworks, tasks become an intermediary step within the quest which is now focused on the transfiguration of the player character. This approach offers a practical design structure for both procedural and manual quest design.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-08T04:56:29Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231170152
       
  • Meaningful Place: A Phenomenological Approach to the Design of Spatial
           Experience in Open-world Games

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      Authors: Bo Wang, Zhenlin Gao, Mohammad Shidujaman
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      With the development of game engines and graphics technology, open-world games have gained popularity all over the world recently. One of the key features of this genre is a realistic open world space for the players to explore, to the extent that some even deemed it as the prototype of virtual world and the Metaverse. However, in comparison with the growing world size, the player's spatial experience is a downward spiral. Interaction in an ever-increasing game space suffered from a repetitive design pattern which rendered the world grandeur on the surface but hollow deep down. How to find meaning in this seemingly hollow world and what game designers can learn from it' From a phenomenological perspective, this paper distinguishes “place” from “space,” and, according to this, proposes a three-dimensional meaning structure of place, that is “orientation-identification-time,” as a design approach to reconstruct a meaningful spatial experience in the game world.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-05-02T06:05:32Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231171290
       
  • Gaming for Ecological Activism: A Multidimensional Model for Networks
           Articulated Through Video Games

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      Authors: Gaia Amadori
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In the past 2 decades, reflections on video games’ ideological and political aspects—and their overarching media ecosystems—have grown. Despite this, few contributions focus on environmental issues, mainly empirically-oriented studies or ecocritical contributions vis-à-vis shared models and systematizations. Starting from the “To The Last Tree Standing” campaign carried out in 2017 for Greenpeace Poland to stop the deforestation of the Białowieża forest, this research sets out to elaborate an analytical model to outline the constitutive dimensions to be taken into account in analyses of how video games and environmental activism can intersect in a specific intentional communicative instance. The results, which relied on semi-structured interviews with executives and designers (n = 3) and inductive thematic analysis and sentiment analysis of the YouTube comments, delineate three initial categories (controversy, campaign network, and game ecosystem). This evidence highlights new development trajectories for studying the intersection between the gaming world and ecological activism.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-20T07:23:33Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231170141
       
  • Video Game Accessibility Defined Through Advocacy: How the Websites
           AbleGamers.org and CanIPlayThat.com Use the Word Accessibility

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      Authors: Sky LaRell Anderson
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This study investigates how the word “accessibility” is used in online news articles published by two video game-based disability advocacy organizations. AbleGamers is an accessibility and disability advocacy charity focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities through gaming. Can I Play That' publishes accessibility reviews of video games. Both organizations have news pages that publish disability and accessibility news. The study examines 50 news articles published by these organizations for how they use the word “accessibility.” The articles produced 105 instances of the word “accessibility.” The study finds nine themes for how “accessibility” is used. The study compares those uses and concludes by producing six pseudo-definitions for video game accessibility.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-19T05:20:36Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231170156
       
  • Rescripting of the Genre Through Greek Mythology in Hades

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      Authors: Jaswanth Arthimalla
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Hades is a 2018 video game by Supergiant Games that sees the player take control of Zagreus, an obscure son of Hades. Hades offers the player freedom to shape, order, and alter its narrative through their choices of pursuit. This article attempts to highlight aspects of this game's design by contrasting it with two prominent rogue-likes. It uses The Binding of Isaac and Dead Cells for this purpose, and to further establish similarities and differences from the rest of the genre in the narrative and the ludic. It introduces the reader to the conventional elements of a rogue-like and how Hades is equipped to work around their limitations. Through this article, I also attempt to comment on whether and how the conventional idea of the genre is evolving in videogames today and highlight how games like Hades, Dead Cells, and The Binding of Isaac are contributing to this evolution.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-19T05:19:56Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231170140
       
  • Survey on Localization From the Development Perspective

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      Authors: Itziar Zorrakin-Goikoetxea
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Localization is the adaptation of a video game at multiple levels to make it appealing for a new market and it greatly contributes to its success. Research regarding localization has been increasing for some years, but there are still close to no studies that analyze it from a development perspective. Through a survey of the developers of the video games available in Spanish on Steam (a popular video game digital distribution platform), we will show that the size and experience of the developing company influence the choice of the translator, the possibility to receive reference images, and the level of internationalization and revision applied. The sooner the localization is scheduled, the more likely the game is to be translated by a professional who can’t play the game before translating it. The results hint at a multifaceted and relatively inexperienced industry that could learn from the experience of other companies.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-12T06:29:15Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231168201
       
  • Right-Wing Extremism in Mainstream Games: A Review of the Literature

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      Authors: Garrison Wells, Agnes Romhanyi, Jason G. Reitman, Reginald Gardner, Kurt Squire, Constance Steinkuehler
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Hate speech, harassment, and an increasing prevalence of right-wing extremism in online game spaces are of growing concern in the United States. Understanding trends in how and to what extent extremist groups utilize online gaming spaces is vital in taking action to protect players. To synthesize the current state of extant research and suggest future directions, we conduct a systematic review of the literature on right-wing extremism in videogames. We detail our search protocol, selection criteria, and analysis of the collected work, and then summarize the findings. Important themes include how and why extremists’ targeting of online game communities began, the role of Gamergate in this process, and the industry and market context in which such activities emerged. We describe the current nature of the problem, with extremist language and ideology providing a kind of on-ramp for radicalizing disenfranchised gamers. We conclude with a summary of responses from industry and legislators.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-12T06:28:48Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231167214
       
  • “You Took That From Me”: Conspiracism and Online Harassment in the
           Alt-Fandom of The Last of Us Part II

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      Authors: Robert Letizi, Callan Norman
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The reception to 2020's The Last of Us Part II was a maelstrom of misleading marketing, unprecedented leaks, and a vicious fallout characterized by prejudiced online harassment and sprawling conspiracies. Through an in-depth analysis of Part II's reception, this article seeks to apprehend the increasing frequency of such controversies in popular culture as a distinct transformation of online fandom, which is defined by the agendas of the alt-right. The “anti-woke” campaigns emblematic of these communities are best understood through what this article defines as alt-fandom, where conspiracy theories are fabricated in order to defy the supposed ideological and narrative transgressions of a new text. In the case of The Last of Us franchise, the challenges posed by its corrosive alt-fandom are endemic to a new reception climate confronting the production of media texts.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-12T04:57:29Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231168745
       
  • “Never Good Enough”: Player Identities, Experiences, and Coping
           Strategies of Women in Czech Video Game Journalism

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      Authors: Tereza Fousek Krobová, Jan Švelch
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In this article, we examine the position of women in Czech video game journalism and the strategies they use to cope with sexism. To this end, we conducted eight in-depth interviews with currently active women journalists. According to our respondents, their work is judged more harshly because they are women and they have to deal with gender boundaries and stereotypes, sometimes conforming to them to prevent further harassment. In this regard, our respondents were criticized (as well as praised) for their physical appearance and treated as less competent than their male colleagues. All respondents agreed that they were repeatedly told by various parties—players, colleagues, and developers—that they were not good enough as game journalists (and never would be). We argue that women game journalists are pronouncedly affected by sexism and misogyny as their expert role directly challenges toxic gaming masculinities.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-10T03:48:29Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231166791
       
  • Failing to See a Difference: Closing a Gender Gap in a Challenging Video
           Game

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      Authors: Craig G. Anderson, Amanda L. L. Cullen
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      How players react to failure remains an understudied area of games research. Previous work has shown that mastery orientation can effectively gauge how players will behave in response to failure in a video game. This study shows that after playing a challenging video game for two weeks, women who initially scored lower on this scale significantly increased, while men significantly decreased. No differences were found regarding how much they played, how often they failed, or their reactions to in-game failure. This suggests that this change is not rooted in their behavior, but in their perceptions of their ability to persist in these environments. These perceptions may have been influenced by well-documented stereotype biases that women and other individuals face entering video game communities. While this doesn’t address the root cause, it suggests that the perception of their ability to persist through challenging games can change with exposure, relieving these held biases.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-10T03:48:00Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231162424
       
  • “We're All Mad Here!”: Becoming God in Bloodborne

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      Authors: Aabir Sen
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This paper engages with Slavoj Žižek's notion of the ‘vanishing mediator,’ by taking a closer look at his study of the Hegelian ‘night of the world.’ It specifically probes into the notion of the divine madness that becomes the ‘Ground’ for the sane, subjective God of The Bible to Word the universe into being. Following this, it proceeds to bring the aforementioned into discourse with Bloodborne, which, in one of its endings, presents the curious case of the next stage of human evolution, i.e., a transcendence into Godhood, which occurs during a similar night. The paper, in essence, presents a dramatic stage for this madness to play out in its reading of Bloodborne, while tracing its vestiges using a postsecular-psychoanalytical lens.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-04-03T06:34:41Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231166767
       
  • The Ones Who Walk Away from Hallownest: Hollow Knight's Radical Response
           to the Omelas Dilemma

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      Authors: Alex Grunberg
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      In Ursula K. Le Guin's short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” a society's happiness depends on the suffering of a child and the reader is presented as culpable this contract. In the video game Hollow Knight, the kingdom of Hallownest was also designed to thrive under a similar contract through the suffering of the Hollow Knight. However, the game presents the player with the choice of multiple endings: take the place of the child as an ignorant sacrifice, take the place of the child as a willing sacrifice after learning the truth about the bargain, or eradicate the bargain altogether. This retelling in a video game format gives the player an agency that is not afforded to readers engaging with a short story. Ultimately, Hollow Knight not only rejects passivity, but proposes a redemptive arc for the ones who walk away from Omelas.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-29T06:47:45Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231166769
       
  • Esports as a Cultural Microcosm for Studying Psycholinguistics

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      Authors: Jeff Coon, Alexander Etz, Gregory Scontras, Barbara W. Sarnecka
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Esports have become increasingly popular as naturalistic experimental settings. In large part, this popularity is due to esports helping researchers balance ecological validity and experimental control; esports provide situations in which people are naturally motivated to learn and act in a complex yet restricted environment. Since players often learn and act collaboratively, many researchers have used esports as a setting in which to study communication. However, most of this research has focused on optimizing team performance or player experience, with less work examining fundamental questions of psycholinguistics. Esports offer unique opportunities in this regard, particularly for studying psycholinguistics in the context of prior knowledge, emergent expertise, and emergent culture. The present paper describes a case study that demonstrates the benefits of using an esport as a microcosm for studying psycholinguistics and points to opportunities for further exploration.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-21T06:04:53Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231164554
       
  • Machphrasis: Towards a Poetics of Video Games in Contemporary Literary
           Culture

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      Authors: Francis Butterworth-Parr
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article develops Kawika Guillermo's ‘machphrasis’ (2016) as a theoretical contribution to discourse considering the deployment of video games in contemporary literary culture. After presenting machphrasis’ academic stakes, I propose that machphrasis can give explanations for some techniques and images endemic to late 20th/21st century writing with regards to video games represented in prose. By appending Guillermo's conceptual work with three additions, I work towards a reproducible poetics of the video game in prose writing. I will show that machphrasis may be used to understand video games in literature as proxies for anticipated technologies, as discursive tools for reckoning with new subjectivities indebted to play, and as the means for generating new ideological positions for those who play games but are excluded from the normative ‘gamer’ group. This contribution prepares current academic discourse for a future literary landscape increasingly beholden to machphrastic themes, ambitions, and language.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-21T06:03:47Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231164087
       
  • Rethinking Remakes: Value and Culture in Video Game Temporalization

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      Authors: Logan Brown
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      As previous generations of players have aged and new generations with new tastes and expectations have emerged, the game industry has increasingly turned to high-profile remasters and remakes to re-valorize old software for new market conditions. To date, scholars and journalists have viewed this development almost entirely through an authenticity-focused lens inherited from preservation discourses, which has led many to dismiss rerelease efforts as simultaneously derivative and ahistorical. But this focus on authenticity has obscured the complex cultural and economic processes which give rise to rereleased games and the heterogeneity of the adaptive strategies that the industry has produced to appeal to varied consumer groups. This paper argues that we should instead view remastering and remaking as sub-practices of what I call temporalization, which, like the more familiar practice of localization, should be viewed as a creatively challenging and politically underdetermined cultural force which demands analysis on its own terms.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-17T06:42:21Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231163655
       
  • Gamification in Education: Why, Where, When, and How'—A
           Systematic Review

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      Authors: Nilüfer Zeybek, Elif Saygı
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Defined as the utilization of game elements in nongame environments, gamification has been frequently used in education in recent years. The aim of the present study is to summarize the studies previously conducted on the use of gamification in education through a systematic literature review. When the studies conducted in 2000–2021 were examined, four main dimensions came to the fore: (i) the aim of gamification studies, (ii) the learning fields where gamification studies were carried out, (iii) the level of education at which gamification studies were carried out, and (iv) how gamification was integrated into the learning environment. The results showed that gamification is used for various educational purposes, at many learning levels in various environments, and in a wide variety of learning fields. In most of the studies, the positive effects of gamification and its potential to solve problems in education were reported.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-17T06:41:42Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231158625
       
  • “You’ve Been Living Here For as Long as You Can Remember”: Trauma in
           OMORI's Environmental Design

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      Authors: Aya Younis, Jana Fedtke
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Developed by Omocat and released in December 2020, OMORI is a surreal psychological horror role-playing game. The game follows the titular protagonist Omori as it examines such sensitive topics as suicide, grief, death, and depression. Such traumatic events are triggered in several planes of existence—White Space, Headspace, and Black Space—leading to anxiety, regression, and resurfacing trauma. In our article, we examine such representations of trauma with particular attention to the role of environmental design. The planes represent different approaches to memory, trauma, and repression, which Omori and the player navigate in non-linear, recursive paths. We analyze how each space seeks to illuminate and explore aspects of trauma in its respective atmosphere. Through environmental design, OMORI provides players with three distinct experiences with escapism and trauma that are representative of the experiences of trauma victims, ultimately elucidating the psychological phenomenon on a larger scale to de-stigmatize trauma.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-16T05:42:00Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231162982
       
  • It's Not a Game! Rules of Notice and Hermeneutics of Suspicion in
           Contemporary FMV Games

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      Authors: Inge van de Ven
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article reflects on the resurgence of Full Motion Video (FMV) games, focusing on Her Story (2015), The Infectious Madness of Dr Dekker (2017), Telling Lies (2019), Contradiction (2015), and The Shapeshifting Detective (2018). Such titles have been derided for their lack of interactivity, and indeed afford the player limited agency in terms of concrete actions. They rely on the player's imagination in suturing the images together and in forming an empathetic understanding of the main characters’ actions and motivations. By virtue of this lack, FMV games challenges players’ analytical and hermeneutic abilities and further cognitive patience. An absence of “rules of notice” by which the details in a narrative are hierarchically organized, including editing and other attention-guiding devices, is part of these games’ procedural rhetoric. Priming the player to obtain a vigilant player attitude, such games foreground the mechanics dis/trust in our reception of fictional narrative.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-14T09:02:03Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231161180
       
  • Animating a Plausible Past: Perceived Realism and Sense of Place Influence
           Entertainment of and Tourism Intentions From Historical Video Games

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      Authors: Nicholas David Bowman, Alexander Vandewalle, Rowan Daneels, Yoon Lee, Siyang Chen
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Historical video games set in famous places in the world history have grown in popularity. The current study extends prior work in analyzing how social realism (a dimension of perceived realism focused on regarding game characters and events as authentic) is related to entertainment outcomes, assessing the extent to which sense of place further contributes to these outcomes, and examining how these experiences encourage tourism. As an internal replication, we surveyed international fans of the Assassin's Creed franchise about their experiences with one of four different games set in modern history (Unity, Syndicate) or antiquity (Origins, Odyssey). For modern historical games, increased social realism was correlated with enjoyment and increased sense of place was correlated with appreciation. For all games, sense of place was positively associated with tourism intentions. These findings are discussed in relation to the role of perceived realism in the experience and influence of playing historical video games.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-14T07:34:18Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231162428
       
  • Interpreting Dwarf Fortress: Finitude, Absurdity, and Narrative

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      Authors: James Cartlidge
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      This article interprets the influential colony management simulator “Dwarf Fortress” existentially, in terms of finitude, absurdity, and narrative. It applies Aarseth/Möring's proposed method of game interpretation, adopting their definition of “cybermedia” as a generalized game ontology, then providing a specialized ontology of “Dwarf Fortress” which describes its genre and salient gameplay features, incorporating Ian Bogost's concept of “procedural rhetoric.” It then gives an existentialist interpretation of “Dwarf Fortress” which centers on “finitude,” “absurdity,” and “narrative,” showing that “Dwarf Fortress” is a game about the existential tensions involved in being human. We live knowing our lives and civilizations are finite, that there are radical limits on what we can know and do. There is no meaning inherent in the world, or in history, so it is up to us to create our own, and one of our most powerful ways of doing this is narrative.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-08T07:03:58Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231162418
       
  • Chippin’ In: An Analysis of the Criminological Concepts Within
           Cyberpunk 2077

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      Authors: Morgan James Steele
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      The cyberpunk genre dominates much of our popular culture, from how we think of cyber- and white-collar crime, to our understanding of how technology influences the criminal justice system. This article explores the common criminological themes prevalent within the recent video game Cyberpunk 2077 as an example of popular criminology. Specifically, it explores the game's story and environment by examining key characters’ responses to structural inequalities through an anomie theory lens. Key characters and groups within the game exemplify Merton's (1938) different responses to rampant poverty and socioeconomic inequality. This is then extended to the “cyberpsycho” problem within the game, incorporating General Strain Theory to discuss why specific individuals develop the problem within Cyberpunk 2077.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-08T07:03:18Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231161042
       
  • Replaying Wartime Résistance' Studying Ludic Memory-Making in the Open
           World Game The Saboteur

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      Authors: Pieter J.B.J. Van den Heede
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Ever since the emergence of digital gaming as a popular pastime, the Second World War has been one of its major sources of inspiration. This article contributes to the study of the memory-making potential of historical digital entertainment games, by offering an analysis of The Saboteur, an American game that is set in France during the Second World War and that offers a depiction of an explorable open game world occupied by the Nazi regime. Through an analysis of a game's paratextual positioning, its ludic social discourse, and instances of perceived ludonarrative dissonance from a historical and cultural memory perspective, the article concludes that the game offers a romanticized representation of male violent resistance against the Nazi occupier who is depicted as Manichaeistically evil and a-historically violent. This representation equally reconfirms the dominant cultural memory narratives formulated in France and the United States during and immediately after the war.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-08T07:02:39Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231160904
       
  • Dates, Carpets, and Pearl Necklaces: The Case of Anno 1404s Exotic
           Orientalism

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      Authors: Ömer Kemal Buhari
      Abstract: Games and Culture, Ahead of Print.
      Since a few decades, digital games have become an area deemed worthy of studying for academics of multifarious fields. Numerous articles and books are being written on the topic of games and culture. Anno 1404 is an economic simulation with a medieval setting that deploys various Orientalist stereotypes. Some scholars, leaning on Said's seminal work Orientalism, have analyzed Orientalist aspects in various digital games. The scope of this article consists of such an analysis of Anno 1404. The game's setting, religious context, view of Muslims, mechanism, narrative, characters, representations, gamescape, geopolitics, and stereotypes are pertinent to this analysis. Anno 1404 proves to carry the characteristics of colonialism, imperialism, and exotic Orientalism.
      Citation: Games and Culture
      PubDate: 2023-03-01T06:12:35Z
      DOI: 10.1177/15554120231158241
       
 
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School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Email: journaltocs@hw.ac.uk
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
 


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