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Domestic Space and Genre in Qing Vernacular Literature
In Woman Rules Within: Domestic Space and Genre in Qing Vernacular Literature, Jessica Dvorak Moyer compares depictions of household space and women’s networks in texts across a range of genres from about 1600 to 1800 C.E. Analyzing vernacular transformations of classical source texts as well as vernacular stories and novels, Moyer shows that vernacular genres use expansive detail about architectural space and the everyday domestic world to navigate a variety of ideological tensions, particularly that between qing (emotion) and li (ritual propriety), and to flesh out characters whose actions challenge the norms of gendered spatial practice even as they ultimately uphold the gender order. Woman Rules Within contributes a new understanding of the role of colloquial language in late imperial literature.
Author: Jacob Cawthorne
What is video game culture and video games as culture? Culture at Play avoids easy answers and deceitful single definitions. Instead, the collected essays included here navigate the messy and exciting waters of video games, of culture, and of the meeting of video games and culture, and do so from four perspectives: Players: Types and Identities; The Human/The Machine: Agents, Ethics, and Affect; Compassion, Recognition, and the Interpersonal; and Learning through Play. As a form of play, video games can greatly affect our lives. As digital objects, they participate in our digital lives. As both, they have a noticeable impact on our relationships with others, with society, and with ourselves, and this is the scope of this book.
Author: Lindsey Joyce


While digital interactive narrative games are invariably narrative, there are two key distinctions between traditional text-based narratives and digital interactive narrative games that affect how the latter are constructed and how we experience them: 1) in interactive narratives the narrator agent and character agent of text-based narratives are collapsed into a singular player agent, 2) in digital interactive narrative games, spatial construction is of a higher order of importance than in text-based narratives, and it is through this shift that player agency and interactivity are created.

In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World
Author: Marta Tymińska


The status of the player within the game is still a subject of multidisciplinary research, and it changes along with videogame industry, the platforms, genres and particular titles. The most recognisable and interesting form of in-game presence are avatars: the visual (and sometimes auditory) representation of players. Avatars are said to create culture, influence human behaviour and change the way one performs as a player. Avatars, their look and agency, also influence players outside the game environment and be used therapeutically. Avatars can influence not only the gamers’ behaviour but can also empower them; solving in-game problems can help players transport causative feelings into their lives. This paper will focus on the results of an interdisciplinary questionnaire conducted among Polish gamers who experience various levels of social exclusion due to their gender, size, and/or socio-economic status. To compare, similar research was conducted among groups of males not threatened by either social exclusion nor discrimination. The study shows what aspects of avatars help with stress management and what mechanisms of avatar-gamer relations empower, enrich and influence behaviour.

In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World
Authors: Peter Freer and Robin Skinner


‘Is your masculinity threatened? Then you're not man enough to play’, the tagline for Adult Swim’s 2010 game Robot Unicorn Attack, boldly captures the challenge the game offers. Robot Unicorn Attack (rua) confronts the player’s personal boundaries through its use of intentionally feminised visual material and the use of the gay club anthem ‘Always’ by Erasure. By comparison, its sequel, Robot Unicorn Attack 2 developed three years later, was forged under circumstances that fundamentally changed the trajectory of the game and franchise. This paper highlights how the fan reception of the original game altered the context under which the sequel was made, and how concepts of gender and choice informed the sequel’s design development.

In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World
Author: Armin Lippitz


Videogames are ‘ethical objects’ (, 4) and therefore constitute an excellent medium through which to teach users about ethics and ethical behaviour. Specifically, the interactive nature of videogames makes them effectively more powerful for immersive and emotionally engaging experiences (; ). As a result, the impact of ethically or morally questionable choices in a game is increased. This leads to the question of how such choices can be incorporated in videogames, and in which ways ethically or morally questionable choices can affect players? Crucial elements for meaningful choices are agency and significant feedback, so the ‘rigidity’ or ‘elasticity’ (, p. 43–44) of a game’s system plays an important role. To what degree, however, does the game’s design influence players’ decisions? Put another way, how are game designers pushing their players into certain directions or actions, and how much leeway are the players given to push back? Additionally, it is important to consider how game designers invite people to make ethical decisions and teach players about ethical behaviour. To answer these questions, I conducted an in-depth analysis of Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment, 2015) focusing on design elements which have the potential to elicit ethically cognizant responses and consider the degree of elasticity in the game’s system with regard to moral and ethical choices, and their impact. I will show how the developers of Life is Strange purposefully disrupt players’ immersion to maximise emotional impact and invite critical reflection on moral and ethical decisions.

In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World
In: Culture at Play: How Video Games Influence and Replicate Our World