University of Sussex
Pelurson, Gaspard.pdf (3.22 MB)

Queer quests: journeying through manifestations of queerness in video games

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posted on 2023-06-09, 14:46 authored by Gaspard Pelurson
This thesis focuses on the various manifestations of queerness in video games, and investigates how video games’ queer potential connects and clashes with LGBTQ politics, as well as with gaming culture and hegemonic masculinity. Through the lens of queer theory, I adopt two main angles of approach. Firstly, I concentrate on video game characters and study them as vessels of queer politics. Focusing on two game characters, and their reception within gaming communities, I explore the limits and potentials of the queer politics in video games. As such, despite the prevalence of heteronormative values in video game narratives, I argue that some game characters embody unexpected vessels of queer hope. Expanding upon this argument, this thesis moves away from queer characters and interrogates the inherent queerness of games themselves. In doing so, I delve into multiple choice dialogue systems and forms of ‘aimless’ game exploration, and argue that games can enfold the player in a queer, timeless bubble where alternative possibilities loom on the horizon. As such, I argue that the player escapes from normative time structures and freely articulates game time and space. In this way, these sequences occur in a queer temporality which runs counter to core game mechanics, such as achievements and rewards. Extending this queering of game, I finally argue that particular counternormative gaming practices, such as intentionally losing, celebrate the failure of heteromasculinity both inside and outside gaming culture. In this way, and throughout this thesis, I argue that video games operate as a multidimensional medium, providing various instances where queerness manifests itself. While I demonstrate that some of these instances can be found in other popular media such as cinema and literature, I argue that video game queerness also takes unique shapes that are exclusive to the medium. As such, I suggest that video games, as a polysemic medium, gleam with queer potentiality, and are pioneers in revealing new queer embodiments.


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  • Media and Film Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

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