• Drawing Queer Intersections Through Video Game Archives

    Xavier Ho, Cody Mejeur (see profile)
    Digital Humanists, Game Studies, Gender Studies, Global Digital Humanities Symposium
    Games--Study and teaching, Gay and lesbian studies, Queer theory, Digital humanities, Information visualization
    Item Type:
    Meeting Title:
    Global Digital Humanities Symposium
    Meeting Org.:
    Michigan State University
    Meeting Loc.:
    East Lansing, Michigan, United States
    Meeting Date:
    April 12-15, 2021
    Queer Games, visualization, LGBTQ Video Game Archive, Game studies, Queer studies, LGBTQ Studies, Data visualization, Representation
    Permanent URL:
    This presentation brings together and builds on previous studies of queer representation using the LGBTQ Video Game Archive and the Represent Me games database (Cole et al. 2017) in order to investigate unexplored trends and invisible queer intersections in video games. Specifically, we draw on Queer Intersections in Video Games (Mejeur 2018), a collection of visualizations of the Archive, and expand our scope on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and class in queer representation. By zooming out and overlaying many representations at once, rather than focusing in on specific games, characters, or narratives, these visualizations reveal patterns that are often unexpected and difficult to see otherwise, such as the increasing Whiteness of queer representation or the shrinking proportion of lesbian characters compared to bisexual women characters. Further, this collection of visualizations aims to center intersectional perspectives on queerness in order to de-center the Whiteness of queer games and queer game studies (Russworm 2018; Russworm 2019; Ruberg & Phillips 2018). In the process of highlighting trends and patterns in queer representation in video games, this presentation will also reflect on the difficulties inherent in queer visualization, which relies on information and elements that are often ambiguous, subtle, or incomplete. Indeed, it is problematic to draw clear lines and boundaries around queer identities, as defining, categorizing, and ordering queerness seems antithetical to its ability to “disturb the order of things” (Ahmed 2006, 161). Instead, we embrace the ambiguity as a generative tension and challenge to not just apply visualization methods to queer game studies, but further to play with and reimagine what queer visualizations can become. This presentation presents visualizations that are more fluid and adaptable, capable of addressing the queer ambiguities, growths, and movements across the spectra of gender and sexuality.
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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