Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. William Carroll
Second Committee Member
Dr. Brian Burton
Third Committee Member
Dr. Steven Moore
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
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Archer, Daniel L., "The Texts We Play: Avatar Creation and Racial Invisibility in Role-Playing Video Games" (2016). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 27.