Playculture : developing a feminist game design
In this thesis, I define 'Playculture' as a primary portal through which 'everyday life' is experienced in the US and the UK. I then argue that online 'cultural structures' have begun, more and more frequently and for a variety of reasons, to take the form of games - games that are destabilised by female participants. 'Feminist' methods of various kinds, 'intervention disruption', and iterative game design are all modes and methodologies I have chosen to apply to the creation of the practical parts of the research. Examples discussed at length in these pages illustrate the tensions between everyday popular culture and interventionist working practices, highlighting a process informed by feminist scholarship of marginalised groups. I argue that specific and identifiable historical play patterns and larger technological developments have been linked to gaming practices. If play has become an integral part of everyday life, then the history of 'banal' play - especially domestic play -- takes on new importance. Paper playhouses of the 19th Century reinforced the notion that the house was implicitly known as a gendered space, and I interrogate gender and play and girls' subversive resistance in this space. I argue that it is both possible and useful to identify three main types of subversion in operation by women players: reskinning, un-playing, and re-writing. I use these types of subversion to design artist's computer games as practical work in [rootings] and [domestic], and in the design of a larger collaborative work RAPUNSEL. I conclude the thesis by utilising my selected methodologies for a final feminist intervention and subversion, through a case study of the design and creation of the practical work [six. circles], which demonstrates how one might rework game goals and creating artists' games as a form of social activism. I end with a summary of the significance of this body of research as well as a summary arguement outlining the potential contributions of this study to future researchers, scholars and practitioners.