WiG 2007 The Big Game - Eva Mueller Zettelman

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Eva Mueller-Zettelman & David Skreiner
“Add Women and Stir”: Digital Games and Gender Trouble
Vienna University & Funatics

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WiG 2007 The Big Game - Eva Mueller Zettelman

  1. 1. „ Add Women and Stir“: Digital Games and the Female Image Eva Mueller-Zettelmann, Vienna David Skreiner, Funatics, Oberhausen
  2. 2. Introduction: Coming of Age <ul><li>an industry‘s adolescence: pimples and testosterone </li></ul><ul><li>designers and customers: dads and granddads </li></ul><ul><li>a saturated market: facing the Unknown </li></ul>
  3. 3. Ingratiating the Female Gamer: A Fictional Account <ul><li>detailed market research </li></ul><ul><li>revision and partial reinvention of the genre </li></ul><ul><li>games specifically catering to women gamers’ tastes </li></ul><ul><li>sharp increase in the number of female gamers </li></ul><ul><li>feminist content shapes public perception </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Status Quo <ul><li>no risk – no female game </li></ul><ul><li>curious discrepancy between the demands of the market and the industry‘s half-hearted response </li></ul><ul><li>hypothesis: not economic but cultural issues at stake  power, selfhood, sexual identity </li></ul>
  5. 5. Two Examples: Metroid (1986) & The Settlers II (1996/2006) <ul><li>Metroid : taking a first positive step towards a genuine feminisation of the digital game ? </li></ul><ul><li>for the male gamer: visual-sexual stimulation and female objectification </li></ul><ul><li>for the female gamer: self-objectification and self-effacement </li></ul>
  6. 8. Two Examples: Metroid (1986 & The Settlers II (1996/2006) <ul><li>Metroid : Taking a first positive step towards a genuine feminisation of the digital game ? </li></ul><ul><li>for the male gamer: visual-sexual stimulation and female objectification </li></ul><ul><li>for the female gamer: self-objectification and self-effacement </li></ul>
  7. 9. The Settlers („ Die Siedler“ ) <ul><li>fans asked for inclusion of women in the 2006 remake of The Settlers II (1996) </li></ul><ul><li>designers responded with ludic rendering of Elisabeth Bronfen’s concept of “absent presence” (Bronfen 1992 ) </li></ul>
  8. 10. The Settlers ( Die Siedler ) <ul><li>Fans asked for inclusion of women in the 2006 remake of „ The Settlers II“ </li></ul><ul><li>Designers responded with ludic rendering of Elisabeth Bronfen’s concept of “absent presence” (Bronfen xxx ) </li></ul>The Settlers II – The Next Generation (2006)
  9. 11. The Settlers ( Die Siedler ) <ul><li>fans asked for inclusion of women in the 2006 remake of The Settlers II </li></ul><ul><li>designers responded with ludic rendering of Elisabeth Bronfen’s concept of “absent presence” (Bronfen 1992 ) </li></ul>
  10. 12. The Female Image in Psychoanalist Theory <ul><li>absence, re-presentation, and possession </li></ul><ul><li>woman as feared/desired object </li></ul><ul><li>woman signifying lack/fullness </li></ul><ul><li>objectification, scopophilia and the hegemony of the male gaze </li></ul><ul><li>woman as fetish, woman as spectacle </li></ul>
  11. 13. Patriarchy and the Female Image <ul><li>Examples </li></ul>Princess Peach (Nintendo, 2006) Princess Peach guest stars in „Mario Gold Advance Tour“ (Nintendo)
  12. 14. Patriarchy and the Female Image <ul><li>Examples </li></ul>Diablo II (Blizzard)
  13. 15. Patriarchy and the Female Image <ul><li>Examples </li></ul>Tomb Raider series (Eidos)
  14. 16. Patriarchy and the Female Image <ul><li>Examples </li></ul>Dreamfall (Funcom, 2006) Tekken Series (Namco) Final Fantasy Series (Square Enix)
  15. 17. Patriarchy and the Female Image <ul><li>Examples </li></ul>No One Lives Forever II (Vivendi) World of Warcraft (Blizzard) World Racing II (Synetic)
  16. 18. Patriarchy and the Female Image <ul><li>Examples </li></ul>Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball (Team Ninja) Dead or Alive Series (Team Ninja)
  17. 19. The Female Gamer: A Cultural Non-Entity <ul><li>no cultural stereotypes available </li></ul><ul><li>gaming takes an active, creative, openly self-indulgent subject </li></ul><ul><li>gaming as a non-pragmatic, non-profitable pursuit </li></ul><ul><li>the game as a potentially transgressive, revolutionary site </li></ul>
  18. 20. Conclusion: Irritating Avatars, Pioneering Female Gamers <ul><li>dominance of the cultural superstructure over the economic base when questions of male identity and supremacy are at stake </li></ul><ul><li>Women gamers through their ‚unfeminine‘ behaviour subvert and expand the common conception of the female </li></ul>

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