Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://buratest.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/1244
Title: Demon girl power: Regimes of form and force in videogames primal and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Authors: Krzywinska, T
Keywords: Videogames;Gender;Buffy the Vampire Slayer;Primal;Gender
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: University of Aberty Press
Abstract: 'There's nothing like a spot of demon slaughter to make a girl's night'. Since the phenomenal success of the Tomb Raider (1996) videogame series a range of other videogames have used carefully branded animated female avatars. As with most other media, the game industry tends to follow and expand on established lucrative formats to secure an established market share. Given the capacity of videogames to create imaginary worlds in 3D that can be interacted with, it is not perhaps surprising that pre-established worlds are common in videogames, as is the case with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (there are currently three videogames based on the cult TV show 2000-2003), but in other games worlds have to be built from scratch, as is the case with Primal (2003). With the mainstream media's current romance with kickass action heroines, the advantage of female animated game avatars is their potential to broaden the appeal of games across genders. This is however a double-edged affair: as well as appealing to what might be a termed a post-feminist market, animated forms enable hyper-feminine proportions and impossible vigour. I argue that becoming demon - afforded by the plasticity of animation – in these games troubles the representational qualities ordinarily afforded to female avatars in videogames. But I also argue that theories of representation are insufficient for a full understanding of the formal particularities of videogames and as such it is crucial to address the impact of media-specific attributes of videogames on the interpellation of players into the game space and the way that power regimes are organised. While theories of gender representation can go someway towards understanding the ideological construction of game characters, they are not developed sufficiently to accommodate the particular nature of player participation intrinsic to playing digital games. The fact that players are interpolated into the game worlds of the Buffyverse and Primal in ways quite different to other media forms is significant and I offer the concept of 'being-in-the-world-of-thegame' to illustrate how theories of representation alone are not sufficient to the task of analysing videogame forms. This paper focuses on the ways in which the interactive and spatial features of videogame formats affect narrative structure, characterisation and themes (particularly agency and power) and I argue that an address of the ways that videogames operate structurally is essential if we are to understand how they take animation into the realms of interactivity and how videogames generate meaning and pleasure.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/1244
ISBN: 189979618=5
Appears in Collections:Media
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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