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02 JUNE 2015

A Game of One's Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space

"In the opening pages of her classic essay, A Room of Ones Own, Virginia Woolf describes being blocked from entering the 'turf' of the University in Oxbridge by an administrative gate-keeper.

Instantly a man's figure rose to intercept me. … His face expressed horror and indignation. Instinct rather than reason came to my help, he was a Beadle; I was a woman. This was the turf; there was the path. Only the Fellows and Scholars are allowed here; the gravel is the place for me' (Woolf, 1929).

This scene invokes the ways in which women have been systematically barred from the digital playground, both as players and as creators of play space. To a large extent, the video game industry in the U.S. remains dominated by a boys-only ethos that harkens back to the gender-biased practices in the British academia of Woolf's day.[1] Games that are female-friendly are often couched in derogatory or dismissive terms: The Sims (Maxis, 2000) is 'not really a game'; casual games are not counted as 'real' games by many in the industry.[2] The result is that certain types of games, game mechanics, play patterns, and, as we'll see, particular types of game spaces have tended to dominate the field of games.

Although this paper discusses the ways in which digital game spaces have been strongly gendered towards male constructions of space and play, this does not necessarily mean we advocate creating exclusively female (or 'pink') games. As Woolf points out in her essay, the solution is not simply to create a distinctly feminine voice (although this is one potential angle of approach), but rather to promote the cultivation of an 'androgynous mind', which, she suggests, is already possessed by male authors of great note throughout history (she cites Shakespeare as an example). We propose drawing from a number of cultural practices, literary sources, and existing games in order to pave the way for a playground that is more open to female players. Thus we promote not only the definition of new feminine game spaces, but also encourage designers to think in terms of 'androgynous space' that engages all aspects of all persons: a space into which women and girls are invited and welcomed, but in which men and boys can also enjoy more diverse and nuanced forms of play than are typically available to them."

(Tracy Fullerton, Jacquelyn Ford Morie and Celia Pearce, "A Game of One's Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space", The Fibreculture Journal : 11)

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TAGS

2008 • A Room of Ones Own (1929) • androgynous mind • androgynous space • boys-only ethos • British academia • casual gamesCelia Pearce • concepts of space • contested spaces • cultural practices • dangerous spaces • digital game spaces • digital playgrounddigital spacedolls house • domestic spaces • emotional space • enchanted worlds • female games • female players • female-friendly spaces • feminine conceptions of space • feminine game spaces • feminine voiceFibreculture Journal • game design as cultural practice • game mechanic • game spaces • games industrygames research • gender-biased practices • gendered spaces • gendered technology • gendered voices • gendering game space • Jacquelyn Ford Morie • male authors • male constructions of play • male constructions of space • MMOG • narrative spaces • nuanced forms of play • Oxbridge • pink games • play patterns • play spaces • poetics of digital space • procedural space • real games • regendered play space • regendering game space • secret places • social spacesThe Sims (2000) • Tracy Fullerton • video games industryVirginia Woolfvirtual spacesWilliam Shakespeare • women and games

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 NOVEMBER 2014

Stuart Brown: the evolution of video game graphics

[1] Pixel Pioneers: A Brief History of Graphics, Part One;
[2] Sprite Supreme: A Brief History of Graphics, Part Two;
[3] Polygon Realm: A Brief History of Graphics, Part Three;
[4] Voodoo Bloom: A Brief History of Graphics, Part Four;
[5] Future Crisis: A Brief History of Graphics, Part Five.

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TAGS

3D games • arcade game • artificial life game • Asteroids (arcade space) • Battlezone (video game) • Borderlands (video game) • casual gaming • cell shading • chromatic aberration • cinematic effects • cinematic platformer • colour graphics • console game • Defender (video game) • Delta Force (video game) • Doom (video game) • Far Cry (video game) • first-person shooter • flat shading • flat shading polygons • FPS (games) • Galaxion (arcade space) • game mechanic • Gears of War • god game • Gouraud shading • GPU • Grand Theft Auto • graphics hardware • Guitar HeroHalf-Life (video game)history of video gamesindie gamesinteractive mediaisometric projection • Jet Set Radio • lens flare • Limbo (game) • Minecraft • motion blur • Myst (video game) • Night Trap (video game) • open worldPac-Man • pixels • platform game • playfield • polygon art • Prince of Persia (video game) • puzzle platformerQuakeraster image • ray casting • Ridge Racer (video game) • role-playing game (RPG)rotoscope animationRPG • Shadow of the Colossus • Space Invaders • sprite • sprite scaling • sprite sheet • Star Cruiser (video game) • Star Fox (video game) • Stuart Brown • Super Meat Boy • texture mapping • Tomb Raider (video game) • TronUnreal Engine 3vector graphics • video game graphics • video gamesvisual fidelityvisual trick • volumetric pixels • Voodoo (graphics card) • voxel • WiiWolfenstein 3D

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 MAY 2011

Gamestorming: structured play for business innovation

"Games come naturally to human beings. Playing a game is a way of exploring the world, a form of structured play, a natural learning activity that's deeply tied to growth. Games can be fun and entertaining, but games can have practical benefits too.

This blog is about games designed to help you get more innovative, creative results in your work. We'll show you not only how to play them but how to design them so they fit your own specific work goals."

(Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo)

Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo (2010). 'Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers', O'Reilly Media

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TAGS

Amazon.comApplebest practicesbusiness innovationchange agentscollaboration • creative results • Dave Gray • design methodsdesign the futureeBayeconomic growthelevator pitchexploringgamegame mechanicgame playing • game principles • games • gamestorming • gamificationgamifyingGoogle IncHewlett-Packardinnovationinnovative companies • innovative people • James Macanufo • learning activity • MicrosoftNetflix • networked economy • Oracle Databasesoftware companies • structured play • Sunni Brown • teamwork • toolkit • tools and rules • visual thinking • work goals • Yahoo!

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 JANUARY 2009

David Hellman: Braid

"Braid is a video game about solving puzzles in imaginative worlds. It's playful and philosophical. Its designer, Jonathan Blow, hired me [David Hellman] to create the graphics for his functional but visually spare rough draft. Happily for me, Jonathan asked me to bring my own sensibility and artistic guidance to the project. As Braid nears completion, I feel proud to have worked on a game with such an intimate and hand–crafted feel."

[Braid was created for Microsoft XBOX 360 in 2008]

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TAGS

art directionBraidcharacter design • David Hellman • game • game artist • game mechanicgamesillustrationillustrative style • imaginative worlds • indie gamesportfoliopuzzlepuzzle platformerresumereverse timerewind timetime manipulationtime rewindtime slowed downtime-based game mechanicvideo gameXbox 360

CONTRIBUTOR

James Walsh
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