Recent Submissions

  • (Re-)balancing the Triforce: Gender representation and androgynous masculinity in the Legend of Zelda series

    Stang, Sarah (Human Technology, 2019)
    The Legend of Zelda series is one of the most beloved and acclaimed Japanese video game franchises in the world. The series’ protagonist is an androgynous male character, though recent conversations between Nintendo and players have focused on gender representation in the newest title in the series, Breath of the Wild. Considering these discussions, this article provides an analysis of Link, the protagonist and player character of The Legend of Zelda series. This analysis includes a discussion of the character’s androgynous design, its historical context, official Nintendo paratextual material, developer interviews, and commentary from fans and critics of the series. As an iconic androgynous character in an incredibly successful and popular video game series, Link is an important case study for gender-based game scholarship, and the controversies surrounding his design highlight a cultural moment in which gender representation in the series became a central topic of discussion among players and developers.
  • Shrieking, biting, and licking: The monstrous-feminine and abject female monsters in video games

    Stang, Sarah (Press Start, 2018)
    This article examines examples of the monstrous-feminine in the form of abject female monstersin a selection of critically acclaimed and commercially successful video games. Various female monsters from CD ProjektRED’s The Witcher series (2007-2015), and Santa Monica Studio’s God of War series (2005-2013)are considered as examples of the abject monstrous-feminine which fall into a long tradition in horror media of making the female body and body movementsinto something horrific and repulsive. These female monsters use shrieking, biting, licking, and spreading disease as weapons against the male protagonist, who must slay themto progress in the games.This article concludes that these games contribute to a long popular culture tradition of framing the empowered female body as monstrous and threatening, and calls for more scholarship on female monstrosity in games.
  • Big daddies and broken men: Father-daughter relationships in video games

    Stang, Sarah (Loading, 2017)
    This article discusses the recent trend of father-centred video game narratives and analyses the father-daughter relationships portrayed in four critically acclaimed and commercially successful games which exemplify this trend: BioShock 2 (2010), The Walking Dead (2012), BioShock Infinite (2013), and The Last of Us (2013). The author critiques these games for granting the father-figures agency over their daughter-figures and constructing them as moral barometers, helpful gameplay tools, and means for paternal redemption. The Walking Dead is discussed as the only positive portrayal of a father-daughter bond among this selection of games.