Voices of Command, Bodies in Peril: The Female in Current Video Games

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This research attempts to explore the role of women as characters in video games that are created by a majority of designers and programmers who are raised in the United States. Before I approach the idea of women in a video game, there is a distinction that must be made: computer games and video games. A video game is played through a dedicated console (Xbox, Playstation) connected to a television. A computer game is played through a computer connected to a computer monitor (Peuter 2007). It is useful to separate the two because until recently, a majority of video games came from Japan whereas computer games stayed mostly in America. However, the American computer game culture was as such that it was associated with the derogatory, socially isolated, nerd culture and was mostly ignored (Leonard 2004). It was not until video games began to be printed on the CD-ROM that American created video games began to reappear as the culture producing the hardware was the same culture producing the software – also known as ‘cultural proximity’ (Aoyama & Izushi 2003, p. 435). The release of the Microsoft Xbox 360 seems to have signaled a new era in which the rift created in the 80s between video games and computer games is mended. With it, the cultural proximity or, the closeness of culture of video games has once again begun to display relevant cultural norms to examine from the American perspective from hardware to display.