Advanced Search

Fake the dawn : digital game mechanics and the construction of gender in fictional worlds

Research and Teaching Output of the MIT Community

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Edward Schiappa. en_US Caldwell, Kyrie Eleison Hartsough en_US
dc.contributor.other MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing. en_US 2017-01-30T19:16:28Z 2017-01-30T19:16:28Z 2016 en_US
dc.description Thesis: S.M. in Comparative Media Studies and Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Humanities, Graduate Program in Science Writing, 2016. en_US
dc.description Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. "September 2016." en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-105). en_US
dc.description.abstract This thesis considers the ways in which digital game mechanics (interactive inputs) contribute to games' worldbuilding. In particular, this work is concerned with the replication and reinforcement of problematic gender roles through game mechanics that express positive ("warm") interactions between characters, namely healing, protection, and building relationships. The method used has been adapted from structural analysis via literary theory, as informed by game studies, media studies methodologies, and feminist epistemologies. Game mechanics are analyzed both across and within primary texts (consisting of Japanese-developed games from the action and role-playing genres) in relation to characters' representation. Through this analysis, I found that characters who are women and girls are often associated with physical weakness, nature-based magic, and nurturing (or absent) personalities, whereas characters who are men and boys often protect women through physical combat, heal through medical means, and keep an emotional distance from others. Relationships built through game mechanics rely on one-sided agency and potential that renders lovers and friends as characters who exist to support the player character in achieving the primary goals of the game. Through these findings, I conclude that even warm interactions in games carry negative, even potentially violent and oppressive, representations and that there is thusly a need for design interventions on the mechanical level to mitigate violence in game worlds and the reinforcement of negative real world stereotypes. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Kyrie Eleison Hartsough Caldwell. en_US
dc.format.extent 153 pages en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights MIT theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed, downloaded, or printed from this source but further reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Graduate Program in Science Writing. en_US
dc.subject MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing. en_US
dc.title Fake the dawn : digital game mechanics and the construction of gender in fictional worlds en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US S.M. in Comparative Media Studies and Writing en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Graduate Program in Science Writing. en_US
dc.contributor.department MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 969440741 en_US

Files in this item

Name Size Format Description
969440741-MIT.pdf 13.02Mb PDF Full printable version

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record