As spoken about in the video above and in a previous blog post, my video essay will begin with a history of both women in video games and a media archaeology of adventure games. This has come from the ideas of Laine Nooney’s article, ‘Archaeologies of Gender in Video Game History’. As Nooney states, “The history of videogames has largely been imagined as a patrilineal timeline… Drawing from both media archaeology and feminist cultural studies, this contribution first outlines the function Roberta Williams serves as a gendered subject of game history” (Nooney 2013). I won’t be using Roberta Williams as a case study, but I will use her as a catalyst to discuss adventure games and, subsequently, women in video games and the industry.
For the analysis of my case studies, Life is Strange and Telltale’s The Walking Dead, something that became important to look at was whether a male or female wrote the game. For the case of Life is Strange, it was a male. An article by Chris Campbell examines what this means for the representation of protagonist, Max Caulfield, saying “there was also a vibe of maleness coming off the way the women characters were drawn and how they interacted with one another” (Campbell 2015). This is something I plan to discuss in the video essay as well as how Max and Clementine can be compared and contrasted as female protagonists.
To round up the project, I want to tackle the impacts of representation in the real world. A good way to do this is looking at how female gamers and women working in the video game industry are treated. A journal article I’ve found directly addresses these issues and I am going to use it to solidify my thesis. In the beginning it states, “the frequency with which female gamers and game developers experience sexual harassment and threats of violence online is significant enough to warrant concern about a section of our society female gainers and game developers-having their sexuality and gender identity used against them, both as weapons and as barriers blocking them from access to a lucrative economic venture” (Phidd 2019).
Even with this project being about and stemming from video games, it is a topic concerned with relevant issues women deal with in society. This project won’t solve anything, but maybe it can bring awareness and understanding to at least one person.
Below are some resources you may find interesting.
PHIDD, NN 2019, ‘A Call of Duty to Counterstrike: Cyberharassment and the Toxic Gaming Culture Plaguing Female Gamers and Developers’, William & Mary Journal of Women & the Law, vol. 25, no. 2, p. 461
Nooney, Laine, 2013. Archaeologies of Gender in Video Game History. Game Studies