1st Edition

Digital Love Romance and Sexuality in Games

By Heidi McDonald Copyright 2018
    316 Pages
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    316 Pages
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    Scholars and professionals from all over the world, across experience levels and the gender and sexuality spectrum, share experiences and analysis of romance and sexuality in video games.

    Whether discussing casual sex in the Star Wars universe; analyzing various Otome games; examining "the gaze" in various games; player romance behavior in games; or exploring the ethical ramifications of sexuality in virtual reality and other emerging technologies, this book discusses what players want in video game romance, and how developers can best deliver it.

    Key Features:

    • Examines the past, present, and future of romance in single-player, role-playing games
    • Discusses common presentations of romance in single-player, role-playing games— both in the category and game mechanics that drive romance
    • Discusses research on how players define a satisfying game romance and what specific steps narrative designers can take to design satisfying games
    • Explains the notion of the empathic game and explores its importance in relation to romance in game design

    Representations of Gender and Sexuality

    1.1 Sexualization, Shirtlessness, and Smouldering Gazes: Desire and the Male Character

    Michelle Clough

    1.2 Making Love Not War: Female Power and the Emotional Labor of Peace in Code: Realize—The Guardian of Rebirth and Princess Arthur

    Sarah Christina Ganzon

    1.3 Love on the Farm: Romance and Marriage in Stardew Valley

    Amanda Lange

    1.4 From Smoldering Justicar to Blue-Skinned Space Babe: Asari Sexuality in Mass Effect

    Alexandra M. Lucas

    Romance and Sexuality in Game Design

    2.1 Visualizing Data for Pleasure: Heather Kelley on Game Design, Sexuality, and User Interfaces

    Diana Pozo

    2.2 Intimate Games: Facing Our Inner Predators

    Sabine Harrer

    2.3 It's Time for This Jedi to Get Laid: Casual Romance in Star Wars: The Old Republic

    Jessica Sliwinski

    2.4 Naughty Bytes: The Western Complications of Genitalia in Non-Porn Video Games

    Heidi McDonald

    2.5 Invitation – Granting Emotional Access Through Romantic Choice

    Leah Miller

    2.6 Designing Video Game Characters for Romantic Attachment: Practical Application and Design Pitfalls

    Dr. Jennifer Killham, Claudia Osthof, and Jana Stadeler

    Otome: Romance and Sexuality in Eastern Video Games

    3.1 “Sweet Solutions for Female Gamers”: Cheritz, Korean Otome Games and Global Otome Game Players

    Sarah Christina Ganzon

    3.2 Sadistic Lovers: Exploring Taboos in Otome

    A.M. Cosmos

    3.3 Love Transcends All (Geographical) Boundaries: The Global Lure of Romance Historical Otome Games and the Shinsengumi

    Lucy Morris

    The Future of Romance and Sexuality in Games

    4.1 Do Androids Dream of Electric Consent?

    Dr. Luke Dicken

    4.2 VR and the Future of Human Relationships and Sexuality

    Moth Loths


    Editor Heidi McDonald, who has lectured worldwide and been published multiple times on this topic, presents this collection as a means of continuing an industry-wide conversation about love and sexuality in video games. More than ever before, players are looking for emotional connection in their games, and this volume interprets how this is accomplished currently overall and in specific cases, and could be done better in the future."