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GENDER AND SEXUALITY

in Video Game Sound

Edited by Dana M. Plank, Karen M. Cook, and Michael L. Austin

Under contract with Routledge - Currently IN Progress

Expected publication date: 2024

 

When the character Samus was revealed to be female in 1986’s Metroid, it sparked a long history of conversations about representation in games—first from the perspective of gender, then later of race/ethnicity, sexuality, and other kinds of identities. These topics have formed the basis for numerous books, articles, blog posts, popular press publications, and conference or convention panels; yet by and large, their focus is on visual and narrative representation, stereotyping, and the gendering of specific game genres and gameplay styles. Analyses of the connections between video game sound and these various types of representation, however, have played a much smaller role in published scholarly work to date. A game’s sound has a massive impact on how a player receives and interprets information specific to the game and its characters, including that relating to gender and sexuality. Whether through sung and spoken voice, gendered or sexualized musical conventions, or narrative connections between music or sound and various in-game identities, game audio is vital to the process of meaning-making with regard to representation. This book looks to examine the intersections of gender, sexuality, and game audio through individual case studies and explorations of player reception, fandom, and game audio history.

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