Feminist War Games: Mechanisms of War, Feminist Values, and Interventional Games, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Feminist War Games

Mechanisms of War, Feminist Values, and Interventional Games, 1st Edition

Edited by Jon Saklofske, Alyssa Arbuckle, Jon Bath


240 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367228187
pub: 2019-12-02
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Feminist War Games explores the critical intersections and collisions between feminist values and perceptions of war, by asking whether feminist values can be asserted as interventional approaches to the design, play and analysis of games that focus on armed conflict and economies of violence.

Focusing on the ways that games, both digital and table-top, can function as narratives, arguments, methods, and instruments of research, the volume demonstrates the impact of computing technologies on our perceptions, ideologies, and actions. Exploring the compatibility between feminist values and systems of war through games is a unique way to pose destabilizing questions, solutions, and approaches; to prototype alternative narratives; and to challenge current idealizations and assumptions. Positing that feminist values can be asserted as a critical method of design, as an ideological design influence, and as a lens that determines how designers and players interact with and within arenas of war, the book addresses the persistence and brutality of war and issues surrounding violence in games, whilst also considering the place and purpose of video games in our cultural moment.

Feminist War Games is a timely volume that questions the often-toxic nature of online and gaming cultures. As such, the book will appeal to a broad variety of disciplinary interests, including sociology, education, psychology, literature, history, politics, game studies, digital humanities, media and cultural studies, and gender studies, as well as those interested in playing, or designing, socially-engaged games.

Table of Contents


Jon Saklofske, Alyssa Arbuckle and Jon Bath

Section One: Play As Inquiry

1. Are There (Can There Be/Should There Be) Feminist War Games?

Jon Saklofske, Emily Cann, Danielle Rodrigue and Derek Siemens

2. Whose Fantasy is it Anyway?

Anastasia Salter

3. "Can I Be a Feminist and Still Play Assassin’s Creed?" An Anxious Interrogation

Diane Jakacki

4. From Strategy to Tactics

Matt Shoemaker

5. Game Design as Liberating Practice: A Case for Implementing Feminist Values, Women and Diversity into the Video Game Community

Sawyer Carnegie

6. Life on the Battlefield: Reframing the Domestic Experience of War in this War of Mine

Ryan House

Part Two: Feminism as War

7. This Suburb is a War Zone: Feminist Pleasure in Avatar Anger

Adan Jerreat-Poole

8. We are always off to War

Jennifer Jenson and Suzanne de Castell

9. The Choices We Make in Feminist War: A Post-Game Jam Reflection on Dontnod Entertainment’s Life is Strange

Andrea Luc

10. A Game Jam Reflection: What is a Feminist War Game?

Sarah Stang

Part Three: Challenging the Industry

11. Asking for What?: Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention Training Games

Liz Losh

12. "Go make me a sandwich, cunt.” Language, Narrative, and Gender in Video Games

Kelsey Schmitz

13. Six Dimensions of a Feminist War Game: What We Can Learn from This War of Mine

Christopher Kampe and Sarah Evans

14. Intervening in a Destructive Genre: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Feminism, and Militarism

Mark Kaethler

15. Having Your Cake and Eating it Too: Subversive Game Mechanics in the Portal and Fatal Frame Franchises

Gabi Kirilloff

16. Competitive Non-Violence: The Quest for Zero Kills

Jon Bath and Elly Cockcroft

About the Editors

Jon Saklofske is a Literature Professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. His interest in the ways that William Blake’s composite art illuminates the relationship between words and images on the printed page has inspired current research into alternative platforms for open social scholarship as well as larger correlations between media forms and cultural perceptions. In addition to experimenting with virtual environments and games as tools for academic research, communication and pedagogy, Jon’s other research interests include virtuality and environmental storytelling in Disney theme parks, research creation experiments, and the relationship between networks and narratives in video games.

Alyssa Arbuckle is Associate Director of the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) at the University of Victoria. Through this role she serves as the Project Manager of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership, and assists with the coordination of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). Arbuckle is also an interdisciplinary PhD Candidate at the University of Victoria, studying open social scholarship and its implementation. She holds a BA Honours in English from the University of British Columbia and an MA in English from the University of Victoria, where her previous studies centred around digital humanities, new media, and contemporary American literature. Currently, she explores open access, digital publishing, and how we communicate scholarship generally. To this end, Arbuckle's work has appeared in Digital Studies, Digital Humanities Quarterly, and Scholarly and Research Communication, among other venues. She has also recently co-edited a print and online collection called Social Knowledge Creation in the Humanities

Jon Bath is an Associate Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Saskatchewan where he teaches electronic art, design, and the book arts, and researches the connection between the form and content of communication technologies.

About the Series

Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities

Digital technologies are increasingly important to arts and humanities research, expanding the horizons of research methods in all aspects of data capture, investigation, analysis, modelling, presentation and dissemination. This series, one of the first and most highly regarded in the field, covers a wide range of disciplines and provides an authoritative reflection of the 'state of the art' in the application of computing and technology. The titles in this peer-reviewed series are critical reading not just for experts in digital humanities and technology issues, but for all scholars working in arts and humanities who need to understand the issues around digital research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Library & Information Science / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Feminism & Feminist Theory
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society