Feminist Games

quo magis speculativa, magis practica

Category: gender

research notes: rust

for those not in the know:

Rust is an Early Access survival game on Steam, created by Facepunch Studios. We also make Garry’s Mod, which has sold over 5 million copies. Rust was inspired by games like DayZ, Minecraft and Stalker. It is a multiplayer game where you and other players are attempting to survive through the awful conditions, where humanity has been reduced to cavemen. Rust’s world is harsh. The environment is not kind. Bears and wolves will chase and kill you. Falling from a height will kill you. Being exposed to radiation for an extended period will kill you. Starving will kill you. Being cold will kill you. Other players can find you, kill you, and take your stuff. Fortunately for you, you can kill others and take their stuff. Or maybe you can make friends and help each other survive, using the game’s building tools to create a safe haven? We just make the tools, and allow the community to express themselves. They’ve made incredible things so far. (source)

day one

first ~15 minutes

*randomly chooses server with 0 players on it, advertised as no-mod/vanilla, noob-friendly*
spawn in total darkness, try to take inventory of items loaded in my hotbar: rock, bandages/health pack, torches
press 3 to start burning torches, walk to nearby cliff face, try to interface by clicking it, nothing happens
open settings menu, consult controls guide, close guide with no better understanding of what to do or how to do something
*sigh*
stumble around in the dark, jump on rocks, stumble across an area and begin to hear clicks of a geiger counter, search for source of sound, discover nothing, afk until daybreak.

Fuck this game. Read the rest of this entry »

conceptual skeleton

Foreclosing Possibility in Virtual Worlds:
An Exploration of Language, Space, and Bodies
in the Simulation of Gender and Minecraft

(link to pdf)

This thesis is a textual analysis and discourse analysis that examines the social and programmatic construction of the videogame Minecraft by interrogating how code, design, and fan modifications limit and facilitate play in and outside the game. This thesis will argue that the constitution of gender—and subjectivity, more broadly—is reflected in the language, space, and bodies that shape the boundaries of the virtual world. What makes a player “cyborgian” when they embody a virtual avatar may have less to do the abstraction of agency into a computerized self and more to do with the way in which humans create and maintain conduits to exist between worlds that are both digital and material.

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