Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitleCharacter Creation Systems, and Their Portrayal of Race, Gender, Body Types, Disabilities, and Age
Presenter(s)Zachary Abbott and Trent Cornwell
SessionIdentity in Games
TimeThursday, October 20, 11:00a-12:00p
LocationLake Ontario
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionIn recent years, video games have become an increasingly large part of everyday media, with US video games sales reaching over 22 billion dollars in 2014 (Entertainment Software Association). The level of impact on the economy is mirrored by the impact that it has on culture. The research conducted for this study focuses around the concept of character creation systems, and their portrayal of race, gender, body types, disabilities, and age. There is a running theme of predominantly white, male protagonists in games that lack the option for players to customize their characters. In addition to the effect on youth development, one may look towards the effect that games have on self-identification across the age spectrum. Because of the diverse group of players a game may have, one may expect to see a range of race, gender, body types, disabilities, and age in video games. Very few studies have been conducted in regards to disabilities in contemporary games. This study focused on the concept of character creation systems, and their portrayal of race, gender, body types, disabilities, and age.
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