D4TC - Queer Games and the Cyborg


Queering Human Game Relations

Alright before I begin to those who might react reading this post since most readers may come from other sources rather than my professors. An article we read to start the discussion was this: http://www.firstpersonscholar.com/queering-human-game-relations/

But of course not a lot of you would read that so let me pull off some quotes and lines which I will then reflect and discuss in this simple blog post.

From the article:

“Queer is a word in a constant process of mutation, inherently unfixed.”

“Queer,” as I understood it, dealt with these dilemmas by being a relentlessly unfixed signifier—not just available for reinterpretation and redeployment, but by insisting on standing for what’s outside, still unintelligible, not part of an orderly system.”

These things when run through the context of games imagines, hypothesizes and develops ideas of games that are not of the norm.

But what is the norm of games? Way back then as expressed in the article games were considered terrible since they were often associated with acts such as gambling which if often attributed the dice but layer reintroduced as another type in the form of a teetotum. This portion enlightened me since it explained why adults were very distraught about their kids playing board games and other sorts.

This of course led to fear of card games similar to Pokemon and Magic the Gathering due to its association to cards that are used in gambling. It seems fascinating to me that I for one am able to witness this transition of gaming culture from a young age to an adult. Beginning with board games such as Snake and Ladders, The Game of Life, Dungeon and Dragons then later on to arcade and video games with the Nintendo FamiCom (Family Computer).

One thing though that did struct me was this terrible stereotype of gamers being this male, unable to do anything with his/her life back then. That stereotype plagued me and it of course plagued the female gender as well, attributing a female games to something totally different.

In the years ahead the article mentions of a event called Gamergate that caught the world and social media by storm.

“The very articles that Gamergate was so enraged by at the end of August were also trying to rehabilitate the image of the gamer—by showing the rest of the world that this “socially inept white guy” stereotype is wrong and obsolete, and talking about how great it would be if the stereotypical notion of “gamers” could be left behind. Sadly, Gamergate itself provides the best case for why we haven’t reached that point yet.”

This issue is often mentioned by my female friends who are gamers and often enough by my sister. Looking for strong characters and deeper roots to go beyond the norm of these games.

Yet despite this call more often enough, games are often attributed to something unimportant to the individual.

“Why have games constantly shuttled back and forth between these two images? Social institutions and conventional wisdom have often given games a side-eye as possibly dangerous or at the very least regard them as a relatively unimportant waste of time or something meant only for children.”

This for me is a problem because games offer so much more in my opinion. It offers a chance to simulate environments where certain conditions can be faced and overcome. But more or less there are those who place it in a corner and judge without the openess to its immersive capabilities.

Games for me, ever since are a storytelling tool, a tool where the player can engage and understand a story of the writer or developer of the game so he or she can go beyond play mechanics and see the world differently.

Thats why in the article, to go beyond the norm and rethink the work of playing a game.

“Queer relations to play don’t have to be reduced to nonproductive resistances to the imperatives of capital. Games can serve as sites for us to gesture towards queer utopias, to imagine alternative ways of being and living. For that to happen, we have to interrogate and rethink the work of playing.”

This is something done in the online community of developers, indie developers which are taking the game world by storm through app, steam, playstation and game stores. These new games with various storytelling mechanics, new ways of interaction open up a way for something entirely different than what we are used to.

“If we’re able to do this, we can then begin to do the intensely necessary critical work of exposing our deep-rooted assumptions about games. By doing so, we open up these assumptions for evaluation and revision. We create the possibility of envisioning new ways to relate to games, rather than fixing on the prospect of locating queerness within games themselves. and we can begin to imagine ways of relating to games that are more multifarious, human, and liberatory.”