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Gender & race in digital game cultures: A critical discourse analytical approach to Metacritic game reviews

Bork, Oskar (2020) GNVM03 20201
Department of Gender Studies
Abstract
This thesis examines user reviews of the video game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine games 2017). From a total of 560 reviews, 176 reviews engaging with social and political issues in the game was selected for a critical discourse analysis. A close reading of the games politics of gender and race being negotiated in the reviews show how performances of (successful) masculinity and (believable) femininity by the characters are taken as signs of a 'feminist/left culture war' on games – a discourse popularized in the 2014-2015 Gamergate movement. The games portray of racism is similarly dismissed as an unrealistic representation of social reality. I argue that a specific nihilistic neoliberal imagination of politics underlies both... (More)
This thesis examines user reviews of the video game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine games 2017). From a total of 560 reviews, 176 reviews engaging with social and political issues in the game was selected for a critical discourse analysis. A close reading of the games politics of gender and race being negotiated in the reviews show how performances of (successful) masculinity and (believable) femininity by the characters are taken as signs of a 'feminist/left culture war' on games – a discourse popularized in the 2014-2015 Gamergate movement. The games portray of racism is similarly dismissed as an unrealistic representation of social reality. I argue that a specific nihilistic neoliberal imagination of politics underlies both positive and negative reviews in what I call a discourse of apolitical gaming. In a close reading of the politics of anti-Nazism, my analysis shows how the games Nazi enemy in the reviews is desired as a military rather than ideological enemy, which I interpret as an aestheticization of politics. From a frequent narrative of white masculine victimhood and an appropriation of a language of oppression, I suggest that the reviews express ideological affinities with the Alt-Right and Manosphere. Lastly, I suggest that a feminist emancipatory project in relation to masculinized gaming also should examine complex intersections of marginality. (Less)
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author
Bork, Oskar
supervisor
organization
course
GNVM03 20201
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Feminist CDA, Gender, Digital methods, Game studies, Alt-Right, Feministisk CDA, Genus, Digitala metoder, Spelstudier
language
English
id
9015407
date added to LUP
2020-06-25 08:43:05
date last changed
2020-06-25 08:43:05
@misc{9015407,
  abstract     = {This thesis examines user reviews of the video game Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Machine games 2017). From a total of 560 reviews, 176 reviews engaging with social and political issues in the game was selected for a critical discourse analysis. A close reading of the games politics of gender and race being negotiated in the reviews show how performances of (successful) masculinity and (believable) femininity by the characters are taken as signs of a 'feminist/left culture war' on games – a discourse popularized in the 2014-2015 Gamergate movement. The games portray of racism is similarly dismissed as an unrealistic representation of social reality. I argue that a specific nihilistic neoliberal imagination of politics underlies both positive and negative reviews in what I call a discourse of apolitical gaming. In a close reading of the politics of anti-Nazism, my analysis shows how the games Nazi enemy in the reviews is desired as a military rather than ideological enemy, which I interpret as an aestheticization of politics. From a frequent narrative of white masculine victimhood and an appropriation of a language of oppression, I suggest that the reviews express ideological affinities with the Alt-Right and Manosphere. Lastly, I suggest that a feminist emancipatory project in relation to masculinized gaming also should examine complex intersections of marginality.},
  author       = {Bork, Oskar},
  keyword      = {Feminist CDA,Gender,Digital methods,Game studies,Alt-Right,Feministisk CDA,Genus,Digitala metoder,Spelstudier},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Gender & race in digital game cultures: A critical discourse analytical approach to Metacritic game reviews},
  year         = {2020},
}