Boys and their Brains: Neuro(a)typicality and Gamer Masculinity

Description (in English): 

In recent years independent and amateur videogame designers have come from the margins to test the boundaries of the medium. Using forms like the ‘walking simulator’ and the ‘desktop simulator’ - forms that forego challenge and combat in favour of storytelling - they have pioneered new modes of interactive autobiography, exploring topics such as parenthood, gender, mental health, grief and faith. Meanwhile, gamer masculinity, that normative and normatizing identity, has been evolving. As the ‘hardcore gamer’ generation grows up, commercial videogame publishers have begun courting this ageing audience with titles that aim to satisfy gaming traditionalists (for whom independent games are often considered too sedate and cerebral to qualify as ‘real’ videogames) while also engaging issues like fatherhood and neurotypicality. This panel sheds light on gaming culture’s growing pains by addressing a series of titles centred on boys and their brains. These games enlist players in advancing stories about survivalist dads and decapitated know-it-alls, terminally ill toddlers and quasi-autistic online gamers. Inviting us to consider the terms on which games reinforce or challenge heteronormative and neuronormative cultural biases, they also ask how these biases bring to light (or further push to the periphery) “gamer masculinity” as a construct.

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Record posted by: 
Jorge Sáez Jimé...