Play beyond the margins: identity, marginalisation, and video games
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 19:20 authored by Gemma Roberts
The concept of the 'gamer' has undergone much scrutiny within media and academic discourses, particularly during and after the events of GamerGate in 2014. As an identity whose heritage stems from geek masculinity, and is frequently seen as exclusionary and ideologically homogenous, it frequently sees itself as occupying a 'charmed' position within game spaces through the mythologisation of the archetypal gamer. In order to maintain positions of hegemonic power within game spaces, this identity uses strategies of delegitimisation to exclude and disempower those who reject the values and power structures of geek masculinity, and control the perception of gaming as an inherently masculine space. Despite this, video game spaces have long been populated by groups that are excluded from full participation from the 'gamer' identity, but nonetheless persist in these spaces, even as their accounts are ignored and hidden from view. This thesis aims to analyse three particular communities: queer gaming communities, the 'casual' gamer-as-modder, and the indie game developer. These three examples actively challenge the strategies used to delegitimise them, and in so doing, these communities function as sites for progressive politics to emerge, and as spaces of resistance to processes of marginalisation. In examining how these communities challenge the strategies of delegitimisation, it also offers possible pathways through which these strategies can be contested and negated -- abstract.