While popular discussions about queerness in video games often focus on big-name, mainstream games that feature LGBTQ characters, like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, Bonnie Ruberg pushes the concept of queerness in games beyond a matter of representation, exploring how video games can be played, interpreted, and designed queerly, whether or not they include overtly LGBTQ content. Video Games Have Always Been Queer argues that the medium of video games itself canand shouldbe read queerly.
In the first book dedicated to bridging game studies and queer theory, Ruberg resists the common, reductive narrative that games are only now becoming more diverse. Revealing what reading D. A. Miller can bring to the popular 2007 video game Portal, or what Eve Sedgwick offers Pong, Ruberg models the ways game worlds offer players the opportunity to explore queer experience, affect, and desire. As players attempt to 'pass' in Octodad or explore the pleasure of failure in Burnout: Revenge, Ruberg asserts that, even within a dominant gaming culture that has proved to be openly hostile to those perceived as different, queer people have always belonged in video gamesbecause video games have, in fact, always been queer.
About the Author
Table of Contents
Part I Discovering Queerness in Video Games
1 Between Paddles: Pong, Between Men, and Queer Intimacy in Video Games 31
2 Getting Too Close: Portal, "Anal Rope" and the Perils of Queer Interpretation 56
3 "Loving Father, Caring Husband, Secret Octopus": Queer Embodiment and Passing in Octodad 84
4 Kissing for Absolutely No Reason: Realistic Kissing Simulator, Consentacle, and Queer Game Design 110
Part II Bringing Queerness to Video Games
5 Playing to Lose: Burnout and the Queer Art of Failing at Video Games 135
6 No Fun: Queer Affect and the Disruptive Potential of Video Games that Disappoint, Sadden, and Hurt 158
7 Speed Runs, Slow Strolls, and the Politics of Walking: Queer Movements through Space and Time 184
Conclusion: Video Games' Queer Future: The Queer Games Avant-Garde 209
Works Cited 247
About the Author 271