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"He could be a bunny rabbit for all I care”: Exploring identification in digital games

By Adrienne Shaw


Little empirical research has investigated how players identify with video game characters. In this paper, I use data from interviews with video game players who are members of marginalized groups, to interrogate the links made between how players identify with video game characters and the importance of representation. I discuss how games ‟ ludic, bodily and socially interactive aspects result in players ‟ being self-reflexive rather than identifying with the game characters/avatars; whereas narrative aspects of games help players identify with characters. Different types of games, moreover, shape the types of relationships players have with the onscreen characters. This paper looks at the links between how players identify with different kinds of video game characters, and concludes with the implications this has for arguments about the importance of the representation of marginalized groups in video games

Year: 2012
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