Campus Location

Abilene Campus

Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Department

English

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair

Dr. William Carroll

Second Committee Member

Dr. Brian Burton

Third Committee Member

Dr. Steven Moore

Abstract

This project sets out to address problems of racial inequalities in role-playing video games as part of a growing field of video game studies in literary criticism. As these games are an increasingly popular form of entertainment in contemporary culture, their potential effects on players cannot be ignored. If these games continue to reflect society in a way that perpetuates racist stereotypes, social progress will halt. In order to study these games from a literary perspective, then, this project combines both narratological and ludological approaches to video game studies in order to bring about new insight from two strong perspectives. This method results in an in-depth analysis of selected role-playing games as texts as well as a survey of college students and how they approach the avatar creation process in video games as well as whether or not they perceive any racial imbalances.

The study finds that most players do not consciously experience any racial imbalances and that roughly a third of the players surveyed have a conscious attachment to the avatars they create. In addition, the games analyzed are found to contain racially problematic elements, though some of these are more blatantly displayed in some games than in others. Overall, this project sets out to bring together two different approaches to game studies in order to legitimize projects like these for future use in the English discipline.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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