A Content Analysis of Top Selling Video Games and Their Production Staff
Fares, Phoenicia Nicole
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Previous research on video games in the United States has repeated the same mantra: women are sexualized, minimized, or just absent. This study evaluates the position and role of women, particularly women of color, in video games. Employing symbolic annihilation, standpoint epistemology, and tokenism, this study assesses characters and their connection to the production team (writers, producers, and directors). Current research on video games has not previously made a first-order linkage of this kind. I analyzed, using a structured content analysis, the extent to which women are present and what type of roles they occupy in forty-one top selling video games (2008 to 2012). The study found that women, particularly women of color, were often tokens or minorities, were more sexualized than men, less violent than men, less likely to possess a weapon, and occupy less active and meaningful roles. Women were often positioned as a commodity or a motivating factor for male character narratives. The research found that production teams consist predominately of white males and that there is no significant correlation between production staff members and the final product. The thesis explores the social implications of such dismal character representation in video games.
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