Computer games, especially in their action-driven violent variety, are often associated with an unthinking attachment to traditional clichés of masculinity. The present essay shows that this assessment is far too simplistic. It explores in particular an adventure game franchise entitled God of War to demonstrate that within chauvinist structures there is also evidence of often very radical subversions of traditional masculine norms. Patriarchy in the game is upheld as well as challenged. Macho sexual fantasies are acted out as well as evaded. Even the simulated bodies of the players’ avatars do not simply correspond to clear-cutgender identities. Using a complex Lacanian model of analysis, the essay demonstrates that in the interaction of the game with the body and psyche of its player through the use of game technology, interesting gender revisions occur that resemble the concept of the cyborg identity famously proposed by Donna Haraway.
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- ‘Ghosts of Sparta’: Performing the God of War’s Virtual Masculinity
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