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Trouble in Paradise: Non-Monogamies and Queer Play in Digital Games


Trouble in Paradise: Non-Monogamies and Queer Play in Digital Games

Dwyer, C. E. Lyne (2021) Trouble in Paradise: Non-Monogamies and Queer Play in Digital Games. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis uses a combined method of game analysis and play-as-method to investigate the representation and performance of non-monogamies in digital role-playing games. I consider how an array of game elements including rules, mechanics, objectives, win and lose states, characters, and narrative shape the conditions within which non-monogamies are permitted, punished, and proscribed in videogames where players interact with prefabricated non-player characters (NPCs) in single-player worlds with scripted narratives. Through an exploration of the country life simulator and role-playing game (RPG) Stardew Valley (Barone, 2016), I investigate how popular and mainstream videogames both challenge and reinforce compulsory hetero-monogamy as a social institution and how players can resist mononormative and heteronormative tropes, systems, and scripts through queer play. Finally, I compare these titles to a selection of independent, small studio, and experimental titles to signal how alternative ways of designing in-game relationships can explore videogames’ potential to act as sites of queer becoming and resistance against compulsory hetero-monogamy.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Dwyer, C. E. Lyne
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:1 August 2021
Thesis Supervisor(s):Consalvo, Mia
Keywords:video games; non-monogamies; queer studies; game studies; technology; digital intimacies
ID Code:988937
Deposited By: C. E. Lyne Dwyer
Deposited On:29 Nov 2021 16:41
Last Modified:29 Nov 2021 16:41


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