Queer Game Studies – an Alternative Lens for Reading Videogames

It seems like only a decade ago that public-facing scholarship around videogames was beginning to ‘legitimize’ the medium and open up broader conversations about play. While we have yet to transcend some of the stock arguments about games, the discourse (both within them and about them) has definitely opened up. The number of major ‘AAA’ titles that contain queer characters and more fluid thinking about gender and sexuality, the groundswell of queer videogame makers working across the field and the proliferation of inclusive spaces and events to keep those numbers growing – #GamerGate be damned, the cisgender white male gamer/developer/theorist has definitely been knocked off his pedestal and this has made room for a greater diversity of folks to convene. So now that there is a little space, how can it be put to use? The recently published Queer Game Studies invites a cast of contributors to explore and hash out what an LGBTQ approach to games might look like. In their introduction to the anthology, editors Bonnie Ruberg and Adrienne Shaw note that queer gaming is “a paradigm not a subfield” and that it is not so much the intersection of queer studies and videogame scholarship, but the spectrum of approaches that are generated by that intersection.

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