Rise of the Videogame Zinesters is a book written by Anna Anthropy on how underrepresented communities can take back videogames as an art form. I read chapter one of the book, “The Problem with Videogames.”
In this chapter, Anthropy laments the lack of representation in videogames. Videogames are a multi-billion industry, but the majority of games being created are mainly just, as she summarizes, “men shooting men in the face.” Anthropy states, “So digital games, by the numbers, are here, and they take up a lot of space. And almost none of these games are about me, or anyone like me.”
I resonated a lot with this reading and identify with the issues she faces. She loves playing games, but the game offering is limited and is filled with characters she has trouble identifying with. The AAA games which dominate the game space are generally an exercise of repackaging or modding what’s been selling. For instance, since Fortnite came out, a slew of battle royale games have come out.
Anthropy captures the ongoing problem of the videogame industry as “games are designed by a small, male-dominated culture and marketed to a small, male-dominated audience, which in turn produces the next small, male-dominated generation of game designers.” Many game companies overlook underrepresented communities because they convince themselves they are catering for the “hard-core gaming audience” which they believe is men (often white). As an Asian-American female who is interested in creating games professionally (and for my Master’s project), I am looking forward to doing my part in shifting this mentality. This reading reminded me to be cognizant of which narratives I am bringing forth through my games. I am also reminded to ensure the authenticity of the narratives I share with players.
Anthropy, A. (2012). Rise of the videogame zinesters how freaks, normals, amateurs, artists, dreamers, dropouts, queers, housewives, and people like you are taking back an art form. New York: Seven Stories Press.