Jacki Morie, Tracy Fullerton, Celia Pearce, Janine Fron: “A Game of One’s Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space”

December 1, 2007 | Perth, Australia

Speaker: Jacki Morie, Tracy Fullerton, Celia Pearce, Janine Fron
Host: Digital Arts and Culture Conference, 2007

The techno-fetishism of computer game culture has lead to a predominately male sensibility towards the construction of space in digital entertainment. Real-time strategy games conceive of space as a domain to be conquered; first-person shooters create labyrinthine battlefields in which space becomes a context for combat. Massively multiplayer games offer the opportunity for non-linear exploration, but emphasize linear achievement within a combat-based narrative. In this paper, we argue for a new gendered, regendered and perhaps degendered poetics of game space, rethinking ways in which space is conceptualized and represented as a domain for play. We argue for a more egalitarian virtual playground that acknowledges and embraces a wider range of spatial and cognitive models, referencing literature, philosophy, fine art and non-digital games for inspiration. Reflecting on a variety of sources, beginning with Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, feminist writings of Charlotte Gilman Perkins, Simone de Beauvoir, Hélène Cixous, Judith Butler, Janet Murray, and including contemporary game writers such as Lizbeth Klastrup, Mary Flanagan, Maia Engeli, and T.L. Taylor, we will argue for a new gendered poetics of game space, proposing an inclusionary approach that integrates feminine conceptions of space into the gaming landscape.