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DiGRA

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DiGRA was founded in 2003 and describes itself as "the premiere international association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena. [1]

Key personnel Edit

2014 DiGRA board Edit

Members of the DiGRA board at the time of the Gamergate scandal: [2]

Past board members Edit

Past board-appointed officers Edit

2002 Working group for the establishment of DiGRA Edit

Gamergate-related activities Edit

Gamergate announcment Edit

On November 5, 2014, DiGRA announced, in a post titled DiGRA and "Gamergate":

The executive board of the Digital Games Research Association publicly condemns the harassment and bullying that some of its members have faced over the last few months due to their work researching and studying videogames.

Mailing list release Edit

On November 6, 2014, somebody released archives of DiGRA's mailing lists for 2014. The archives contain few or no references for most Gamergate-related subjects until the November 5 announcement, with one exception:

On July 31, 2014, Jesse Singal asked for examples of "promising research into games that can help treat mental illness." Sandra Danilovic recommended Zoe Quinn's Depression Quest and Anna Anthropy's dys4ia, both of which have since faced accusations of getting favorable treatment from news reporters who were friends of the developers without disclosing this association. Kim Flintoff also recommended Depression Quest along with the experimental game SPARX.

Dutch 8chan accusation Edit

An anonymous 8chan user claiming to be from a Dutch university alleged:

one DiGRA professor falsified the Game History lessons for her own agenda - when I called her out on it after the class ended, she said that I was correct but that she wanted to do it her way anyways, because she didn't want us to make bad games.

In the same thread, someone claiming to be a member of DiGRA "who has worked on at least three of the games sitting in your room" appeared to the defend the group and was met with insults and the usual chan chaos.

Personal commentary Edit

Esther Macallum-Stewart Edit

During the Gamergate controversy, as Sargon of Akkad puts it, "she tweets articles by Laurie Penny and Jenni Goodchild about how their side is winning Gamergate." [1] These articles were Why We're Winning by Penny and Pixie Talks Gamergate by Goodchild.

Torill Mortensen Edit

Mortenson's commentary on Anita Sarkeesian: [1]

The consistent attacks on Anita Sarkeesian for her Tropes VS Women series at Youtube is really horrifying... I am impressed with the thorough work and solid research she has done for each movie.

Commentary on #notyourshield: [1]

Then somebody launches a Twitter campaign with the hashtag not your shield. Having spent years as a meat-shield (a bad one, though), I tried to figure that one out, but never managed to understand what it was about. OK, I did that there were a lot of people saying they were not shields in this discussion but - not what shields? Whose? Not the misogonysts' shield? Not Quinn's shield? The game journalists' shield? The tweets under this label were as confusing as the rest of this discussion. Which may not be surprising, as it may be coming out of 4chan - at least according to Reddit.

Controversy Edit

DiGRA was the subject of several videos by Sargon of Akkad alleging that DiGRA was part of a wider feminist conspiracy against gamers. [1] [3]

8chan report Edit

According to an anonymous report:

Most articles are clean. They may seem artsy, but that is because they cover ludological topics which seem vague due to their philosophical nature. Anyway; I have found 'only' 28 articles that are suspicious (by looking at the title, introduction and names involved, and if they seem to be pushing an agenda.) ...

There are 3 things I want to point people to:

These three have written an awful lot of articles together. Now that isn't peculiar, except that all but two of those articles seem to be agenda based.

They wrote this:

  • 06278.27455.pdf Her own Boss: Gender and the Pursuit of Incompetent Play.
  • 07311.36536.pdf Girls and Gaming: Gender Research, “Progress” and the Death of Interpretation
  • 07312.27373.pdf Gender in Play: Mapping a Girls’ Gaming Club
  • 07312.45210.pdf Digital Games for Education: When Meanings Play

Taylor wrote on his own this article:

  • 09291.07278.pdf Where the Women Are(n’t): Gender and a North American ‘Pro-gaming’ Name

I have to read all five of these in detail, but it is safe to assume that there is something up with the three, that I've named The Three Musketeers for the occasion.

Research in gaming and identity politics Edit

Mia Consalvo Edit

Cash Cows Hit the Web Edit

The 1997 paper Cash Cows Hit the Web is partly about the website launch of Glamour magazine. The first half of the paper is spent denouncing as sexist the concepts of technology and science, not merely their cultural applications. Consalvo begins by saying that "the role of gender ideology in science" "raises the more interesting and valuable questions" than do concerns about the availability of scientific education and career opportunities for women. Consalvo rejects the notion that technology can be described through "notions of process, artifact(s), and construction," finding that "technology is more than simply artifacts, facts, or hardware, but is instead a process unbreakably linked to gender." Consalvo identifies technology as "masculine" and "patriarchial", citing Rosalyn Gill and Keith Grint's 1995 paper The Gender-Technology Relation. [4]

Consalvo opens the discussion of Glamour magazine by expressing perplexment at the fact that women buy womens' magazines despite the fact that their content of "out of date myths of femininity" is not what Consalvo imagines women would be interested in. Consalvo condemns Glamour for not adding "issues of gender, race and class" to its online content that are not in its print magazine, spends a page calling the magazine racist for having too many white models even while noting that black, latin, and asian models are present, and denounces the website's focus on print content as having "wiped out" the "progress of minority presence" because of around eight images seen in four months of seeing two images per month, none were of black women. [4]

Cyber-Slaying Media Fans Edit

The 2003 paper Cyber-slaying media fans discusses the corporate shutdown of Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan sites and argues that TV shows which have a fan community should not have trademark or copyright protection because "Texts that hold shared meanings for a significant number of people become something more than the 'property' of a corporation." Consalvo condemns HTML as being written by "male engineers" under a section titled "Technology Is Not Neutral." [5]

Hot Dates and Fairy-Tale Romances Edit

Consalvo's 2006 paper Hot Dates and Fairy-Tale Romances: Studying Sexuality in Video Games, according to a review by Hilary of Self.net: [6]

[Consalvo] argues that in gameplay where the intended player is male, and the central character is also male, the player-character interaction can be read as an erotic triangle, where the rescue or romantic pursuit of the main female character functions to facilitate a homosocial relationship between the two males as they work towards this goal together ... Consalvo also points out that a heterosexual female or gay male player will be alienated by this, as they are "forced" to flirt with a woman character; ...

Consalvo also criticizes The Sims for its diverse racial and sexual options that Consalvo sees as empowering racism and bigotry because the game does not force any one person's preferred racial and sexual identity upon the player.

in enabling Sims to be of any sexual orientation without specifying that they must conform to one set of behaviours, a "gay window" is created whereby the player may choose to read (or not read) gay sexuality as possible for their Sims. Because The Sims allows the gamer to "play God" with the lives of characters, a player may never be faced with a character which is homosexual, black, poor, or belonging to another minority group, unless they actively choose to do so. Consalvo argues that this limits the radical potential of the game, as homophobic players will never have to even consider the possibility that their characters have the potential to be gay, reaffirming heterosexuality as "natural" and "normal".

Other work Edit

The 2003 paper Zelda 64 and Video Game Fans uses the existence of online walkthroughs to conclude that Majora's Mask has a "traditional narrative." [7]

The 2003 paper It's A Queer World After All: Studying The Sims and Sexuality notes that The Sims allows polygamy and homosexual relationships. [8]

Consalvo's 2006 paper Game analysis, coauthored with Nathan Dutton, proposes "a methodological toolkit for the qualitative study of games". Four foci of analysis are: [9]

  • Object inventory: List every object in the game and ask "What role or importance do objects have in the game?"
  • Interface study: analyze the user interface
  • Interaction map: analyze the player's interactions with other characters, both NPCs and other players
  • Gameplay log: analyze everything else

Consalvo contributed to the paper Women and Games: Technology of the Gendered Self for which Pam Royse was the lead author. This paper was published in 2007 based on interviews conducted in 2003 with female gamers. While alleging that "the digital gaming culture has largely negated the empowerment of women" and that "games and gender mutually constitute each other," the authors are so thoroughly immersed in prejudice and stereotype as to react with confusion when the women gamers failed to fit into the academics' expected gender roles. The authors are further confused by the "paradox" that women are able to enjoy games that depict hypersexualized female avatars, and they find that more women intentionally use such avatars than oppose them. [10]

Consalvo's 2009 paper There Is No Magic Circle rejects Johan Huizinga's notion of a "magic circle" of gameplay, commonly described in modern times as immersion in the game world, by citing the fact that many players, particularly cheaters, ignore any boundaries between the game world and the real world. [11]

Consalvo contributed to the 2009 paper The virtual census: representations of gender, race, and age in video games, for which Dmitri Williams was the lead author. From a sample of 8,572 characters from the 133 top-selling console video games, the authors found that over 85% of the characters were male including over 89.5% of the lead characters. In terms of race, 10% of the characters were black compared to 12% of the US population, only 2.7% of the characters were hispanic compared with 12.5% of the US population, and black characters were far more likely to appear in games marketed for children than in games marketed to adults. The study also found that fewer than 6% of the characters were young children or the elderly despite these categories composing more than 30% of the US population. [12]

Helen Kennedy Edit

Member of Women in Games (WiG) steering committee. Helen Kennedy and Emma Westecott convened "the WiG strand within Digra 2009." Kennedy is "Co-Investigator in an International collaboration Feminists in Games." [1]

Kennedy's 2002 paper Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? discusses the controversy over Tomb Raider's Lara Croft as a sex object and the varying responses of women and feminists to the character's appearance, and alleges that male players become "transgendered" and "queer" by playing Tomb Raider. Kennedy claims that the "masculine culture" of video games makes it "unlikely that female gamers will feel adequately empowered" to write fanfic of Lara Croft as a lesbian and expresses surprise and "cause for celebration" that lesbian fanart of Lara Croft exists online, describing this as "marking a significant breakthrough in the representation of women". [13]

Kennedy's 2005 paper Subjective Intersections in the Face of the Machine declares as "widely accepted" the ideas that technology is a cultural construction and that "gender is embodied in technology", and "technologies shape our understandings of gender"; promotes "the works of Donna Haraway and Sandra Harding for their attempts to develop anti-sexist, anti-classist and anti-racist perspectives on science and technology", implying that science and technology themselves, not their applications, are sexist, classist, and racist; and condemns "feminist science and technology studies" for restricting their studies of gender notions in relationship to technology to only considering gender notions and not race. The paper goes on to review interviews with poor women in the Her@ program, noting that the women resisted being identified by race and ethnicity. [14]

Kennedy authored the paper Female Quake players and the politics of identity which is published in the 2007 collection Videogame, Player, Text, edited by Barry Atkins & Tanya Krzywinska. [15]

Tanya Krzywinska Edit

Tanya Krzywinska is a member of DiGRA's Women in Games group. Krzywinska's paper Demon Girl Power: Regimes of Form and Force in videogames Primal and Buffy The Vampire Slayer discusses the female player characters in theese games, noting "the mainstream media's current romance with kick-ass action heroines" who appeal to the "post-feminist market".[16]

Jason Rutter Edit

Rutter has contributed to papers headlined by Jo Bryce which describe LAN parties such as the UK Console Championships as "gendered spaces" where women "appeared marginalized regardless of gaming aptitude", while also seeing a trend towards women accepting gaming as a socially acceptable practice, particularly in online gaming. [17][18] [19]

Both Bryce and Rutter co-edited the book Understanding Digital Games and are members of the Digiplay Initiative.

Annika Waern Edit

Waern heads the Mobile Life Center of Stockholm University and contributed to the project Codename Heroes: Design to Empower to "create a gender-aware pervasive game to engage and empower, mainly young women" through an augmented reality game. [20] [21]

Hanna Wirman Edit

Wirman's 2014 paper Gender and Identity in Game-Modifying Communities discusses how society seems to have designated The Sims as a game for girls and how men seem to be ashamed of admitting to playing it. [22]

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Sargon of Akkad, The Feminist Ideological Conquest of DiGRA (part 1), September 26, 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28D6_8KuIpc
  2. The Exective Board, DiGRA, http://www.digra.org/the-association/about-us/the-executive-board/
  3. Sargon of Akkad, How DiGRA Caused the End of Gamers, #Gamergate and #NotYourShield, October 2, 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rouq-VdgXdo
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mia Consalvo, Cash Cows Hit the Web: Gender and Communications Technology, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Spring 1997
  5. Mia Consalvo, Cyber-slaying media fans: Code, Digital Poaching, and Corporate Control of the Internet, Journal of Communications Inquiry, January 2003
  6. Hilary, Hot Dates and Fairy-Tale Romances: Studying Sexuality in Video Games, 2006
  7. Mia Consalvo, Zelda 64 and Video Game Fans: A Walkthrough of Games, Intertextuality, and Narrative, Television and New Media, August 2003
  8. Mia Consalvo, It's A Queer World After All: Studying The Sims and Sexaulity, GLAAD Center for the Study of Media and Society,

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