“Queer Game Studies” edited by Bonnie Ruberg and Adrienne Shaw— Video Games and Youth Culture

Ruberg, Bonnie and Adrienne Shaw, (editors). “Queer Game Studies”, University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

Video Games and Queer Culture

Amos Lassen

in “Queer Game Studies” is a collection of in-depth, diverse, and accessible essays that use queerness to challenge the ideas that have dominated gaming discussions. We learn about underappreciated communities that are making, playing, and studying queer games thus “demonstrating the centrality of LGBTQ issues to the gamer world and establishing an alternative lens for examining this increasingly important culture”.

Video games have developed into a rich, growing field at many top universities, but they have rarely been considered from a queer perspective. Video games take us to new worlds and seem to offer the perfect opportunity to explore the “otherness” of queer culture that sexism and discrimination do not show us. The collection provides us with a welcome corrective that reveals a lot about underappreciated communities that are making, playing, and studying queer games.

The essays use queerness to challenge the ideas that have dominated gaming discussions. Here we see the centrality of LGBTQ issues to the gamer world and how they establish an alternative lens for examining this increasingly important culture. The book covers important subjects such as “the representation of queer bodies, the casual misogyny prevalent in video games, the need for greater diversity in gamer culture, and reading popular games” (such as Bayonetta, Mass Effect, and Metal Gear Solid) from a queer perspective”.

Perfect for both everyday readers and instructors looking to add diversity to their courses, Queer Game Studies is the ideal introduction to the vast and vibrant realm of queer gaming.

The contributors are Leigh Alexander; Gregory L. Bagnall, U of Rhode Island; Hanna Brady; Mattie Brice; Derek Burrill, U of California, Riverside; Edmond Y. Chang, U of Oregon; Naomi M. Clark; Katherine Cross, CUNY; Kim d’Amazing, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Aubrey Gabel, U of California, Berkeley; Christopher Goetz, U of Iowa; Jack Halberstam, U of Southern California; Todd Harper, U of Baltimore; Larissa Hjorth, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Chelsea Howe; Jesper Juul, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; merritt kopas; Colleen Macklin, Parsons School of Design; Amanda Phillips, Georgetown U; Gabriela T. Richard, Pennsylvania State U; Toni Rocca; Sarah Schoemann, Georgia Institute of Technology; Kathryn Bond Stockton, U of Utah; Zoya Street, U of Lancaster; Peter Wonica; Robert Yang, Parsons School of Design; Jordan Y.

Here is the table of contents:


Introduction: Imagining Queer Game Studies

Adrienne Shaw and Bonnie Ruberg

Part I. Defining Queerness in Games

  1. What Is Queerness in Games, Anyway?

Naomi Clark

  1. Queergaming

Edmond Y. Chang

  1. Queer Theory, the Body, and Video Games

Derek A. Burrill

  1. Queering Games History: Complexities, Chaos, and Community

Zoya Street

Part II. Queering Game Play and Design

  1. Ending the Cycle: Developing a Board Game to Engage People in Social Justice Issues

Peter Wonica

  1. Playing Outside

Leigh Alexander

  1. Building a Queer Mythology

Hanna Brady

  1. For Play? Literary Ludics and Sexual Politics

Aubrey Gabel

  1. Play and Be Real about It: What Games Could Learn from Kink

Mattie Brice

  1. Queering the Snapshot: Ambient Mobile Play

Larissa Hjorth and Kim d’Amazing

Part III. Reading Games Queerly

  1. On “FeministWhorePurna” and the Ludo-material Politics of Gendered Damage Power-ups in Open-World RPG Video Games

Robert Yang

  1. Welcome to My Fantasy Zone: Bayonetta and Queer Femme Disturbance

Amanda Phillips

  1. Role-Play as Queer Lens: How “ClosetShep” Changed My Vision of Mass Effect 
Todd Harper
  2. Queer(ing) Gaming Technologies: Thinking on Constructions of Normativity Inscribed in Digital Gaming Hardware

Gregory L. Bagnall

  1. On Gone Home

merritt kopas

Part IV. Queer Failures in Games

  1. The Trouble with Communities

Adrienne Shaw

  1. “Play Like a Girl”: Gender Expression, Sexual Identity, and Complex Expectations in a Female-Oriented Gaming Community

Gabriela T. Richard

  1. The Nightmare Is Over

Katherine Cross

  1. Queer Gaming: Gaming, Hacking, and Going Turbo

Jack Halberstam

  1. The Arts of Failure: Jack Halberstam in Conversation with Jesper Juul

Moderated by Bonnie Ruberg

  1. “I Wouldn’t Even Know the Real Me Myself”: Queering Failure in Metal Gear Solid 2 
Jordan Youngblood

Part V. Queer Futures for Games

  1. If Queer Children Were a Video Game

Kathryn Bond Stockton

  1. Queer Growth in Video Games

Christopher Goetz

  1. Finding the Queerness in Games

Colleen Macklin

  1. Organizing New Approaches to Games: An Interview with Chelsea Howe, Toni Rocca, and Sarah Schoemann

Moderated by Bonnie Ruberg

  1. Forty-Eight-Hour Utopia: On Hope and the Future of Queerness in Games

Bonnie Ruberg