Making (a) difference in games Feminist game creation and other interferences with the Swedish video game industry’s reproduction of gendered sameness
Grounded in my passion for video games and motivated by my experiences of often feeling like not belonging in the stories told in games, this qualitative study investigates challenges and strategies for diversity in games from the perspectives of eight game designers. While feminist game scholars problematize the Swedish video game industry’s reproduction of the same stories targeted towards the same players (white, heterosexual, middle classed and relatively young males), few investigate in and propose directions for the industry to change its practices. By approaching game designers committed to diversity in games, the main aim for this study is therefore to gain knowledge on current processes of change. With social constructivist and posthumanist feminist theories, I diffractively analyze narratives from in- depth interviews, blog posts and panel discussions. The results of this study suggest that the industry has transitioned into an ‘openness’ towards diversity in games. However, the results also point at this openness as involving repressive practices where differences and diversity are forced into white, middle class, heterosexual and male sameness. Therefore, I argue that the pursuit of sameness works to exclude a diversity of voices from the stories told in games. I also conclude that the participants’ diffractive strategies, in how they visualize and allow for differences, create interferences with the industry’s reproduction of sameness.