The meaning of a game: Stereotypes, video game commentary and color-blind racism
B. McKernan (2015)
Paper’s reference in the IEEE style?
B. McKernan, “The meaning of a game: Stereotypes, video game commentary and color-blind racism,” Am J Cult Sociol, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 224–253, Jun. 2015.
How did you find the paper?
If applicable, write a list of the search terms you used.
Was the paper peer reviewed? Explain how you found out.
The paper was published in the American Journal of Cultural Socialogy and would have been peer reviewed.
Does the author(s) work in a university or a government-funded research institute? If so, which university or research institute? If not, where do they work?
The author is an Assistant Professor of Sociology Law and Society Program, Interdisciplinary Studies Department Sage College of Albany. He has a :
- Ph.D. in Sociology form the University at Albany, State University of New York, 2013 which focused on : cultural sociology, media sociology, new media, social theory
M.A. in Sociology from Fordham University, 2006 focusing on social theory, cultural studies, criminology
- B.A. in Criminal Justice from Saint Anselm College, 2004 focusing on criminology, sociology, history
What does this tell you about their expertise? Are they an expert in the topic area?
The author is an expert in evaluating the impact of media, and in the case of this study online forums, on society.
What was the paper about?
This paper examines the discussion around social issues in online gaming forums.
Video games have recently grown from being played by a small group to being a pass time participated in by a large portion of the population.
In recent years some games have been controversion with their treatment of minorities, their depiction of violence, their treatment of women etc. This paper researches the discussion around racism included in the game Resident Evil 5 (RE5) in online forum NeoGAF, and whether the forum can be considered an "aesthetic public sphere".
Just within the field of game studies, numerous works have found that male and white characters are vastly overrepresented in video games (Beasley and Collins Standley, 2002; Williams et al, 2009; Downs and Smith, 2010; Burgess et al, 2011). Moreover, the female and minority characters that do appear in video games often perpetuate stereotypes. Video games commonly depict female characters in a sexualized fashion and black male characters in a hyperviolent manner (Beasley and Collins Standley, 2002; Leonard, 2006, 2009; Dill and Thill, 2007; Downs and Smith, 2010; Burgess et al, 2011).
These topics will most likely be met with resistance, as evident by posters’ harsh response to those who criticize RE5. In this sense, posters who want to engage in sociopolitical discussions face an up-hill battle. The forum may overwhelmingly reject the idea that sociopolitical issues are valid concerns when it comes to entertainment and delegitimize posters who raise such concerns by launching ad-hominem attacks and characterizing them as not true video game fans.
Brenick et al (2007) find that high-frequency video game players are more likely to condone stereotypical portrayals.
Research also reveals how entertainment publics that form around video games rely on prominent discourses in civil society that support existing power dynamics. Salter and Blodgett (2012) and Braithwaite (2014) document how many gaming publics possess a hypermasculine discourse that defines gaming culture as a male-dominated space and marginalizes those whose actions threaten this depiction.
If applicable, is this paper similar to other papers you have read for this assignment? If so, which papers and why?
If applicable, is this paper different to other papers you have read for this assignment? If so, which papers and why?
This is the first paper reviewed covering gaming and discussions in online forums about aspects of games which are discriminating.
The paper highlighted how many games depict female or minority characters in ways to perpetuate stereotypes (e.g. dangerous for 'black' characters, sexualised for female characters) and online discussion in games forums is often met with ad-hominem attacks or lack of acceptance that it is an issue.
What do these similarities and differences suggest? What are your observations? Do you have any new ideas? Do you have any conclusions?
This paper provided a reference related to online attacks in forums of posters when unpopular views are posted. It also indicated a level of group-think or pack behaviour where a large group of those that believe they are 'the real gamers' (in this case) attack those they believe are being negative about their area.
This question is to be answered after your critical analysis is completed. Which sections (if any) of your critical analysis was this paper cited in?