What Is “Queering” in Video Game Design? Naomi Clark on Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #103

While LGBTQ+ rep­re­sen­ta­tion in video games has been improv­ing (as with oth­er media), Nao­mi Clark (who designed games for LEGO, Game­lab, Fresh Plan­et, Rebel Mon­key, et al) has some­thing more dis­rup­tive in mind when argu­ing for game “queer­i­fi­ca­tion.” The pro­to­typ­i­cal video game includes a more-or-less lin­ear pro­gres­sion through a pre-defined sto­ry to a defined win con­di­tion, and any­thing that chal­lenges that tra­di­tion to allow more self-expres­sion is a step in the direc­tion of queer­ing. Many pop­u­lar games now include a sand­box aspect that allows play­ers to make their own deci­sions, and this ges­tures at a con­tin­u­um of free­dom in play­er-game rela­tions, with the extreme being a game that just pro­vides a plat­form for play­ers to cre­ate their own games.

Your host Mark Lin­sen­may­er and guest co-host Tyler His­lop engage Nao­mi about top­ics like how games train us, char­ac­ter cre­ation, glitch­es, speed runs, gam­i­fy­ing  tasks, and eco­nom­ic and indus­try pres­sures in game design. Some games we touch on include The Sims, The Last of Us, Cyber­punk, and Mass Effect.

Read Naomi’s pre­sen­ta­tion on “Queer­ing Human-Game Rela­tions.” Get involved with the NYU Game­cen­ter where Nao­mi works. You can also play her ear­ly game Sis­sy­fight 2000 free online. A cou­ple of her oth­er cre­ations that come up in our dis­cus­sion include Won­der City and the card game Con­sen­ta­cle. Read her wis­dom on Quo­ra and fol­low her on Twit­ter @metasynthie.

Some sources reviewed to pre­pare for this episode include:

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

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  • Eric says:

    What is all this sick idio­cy about ” queer­ing” and ” queer­ish” ?
    There are no such words unless you are a dement­ed imbe­cile.

    And what do you fools expect the rest of soci­ety, and the world, to think of fools who call them­selves queers ??!!

    I have nev­er wit­nessed such mass-stu­pid­i­ty before in my life.

    I am not wait­ing for any replies here because I just don’t care any­more. It’s your prob­lem, not mine. Bye !

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