Walking, Talking and Playing with Masculinities in Firewatch

Allbwn ymchwil: Cyfraniad at gyfnodolynErthygl

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This article explores how the walking simulator Firewatch (Campo Santo, 2016) successfully problematizes toxic, traditional videogame hypermasculinity, inviting instead the performance of a care-oriented masculinity. Henry is characterized as a hypermasculine protagonist, but the game actively refuses to let the player perform that masculinity, enabling instead the performance of a subtle, complex, and well-developed male character. This destabilization is ludologically intentional and highlights a sensitivity towards the performance of non-hegemonic masculinities. If traditional games enable players to live out a fantasy life of performing hypermasculine acts, then walking simulators reestablish an anxious homogeneity of passive non-performance. Henry's macho presentation is belied not only by the genre of the game he inhabits, but by multiple feminizing factors in the text, including the prologue, the dialogue mechanic, and the way the game constructs the character's (and the player's) paranoid sense of mystery. As the denouement reveals, the danger that loomed was centered in real world challenges like environmental protection and familial guilt, better solved through conversation and patience than violent heroics. The kind of labour the character performs, compared with the adventuring accomplished by most videogame protagonists, underscores the complexity of his identity; though Henry works hard, his hard work is mostly confined to the realm of emotional labour and therapeutic self-care. This feminized labour is reflected in the gameplay as well, highlighting the divide between "hardcore" games (typically characterized as masculine) and the "hard" work associated with femininity. By playing with genre and subverting player expectations, Firewatch enables players to practice and perform masculinities beyond the hyper.


Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
CyfnodolynGame Studies
Rhif y cyfnodolyn2
StatwsCyhoeddwyd - Medi 2018

Cyfanswm lawlrlwytho

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