When we think of pleasures to be found in video games, we often talk about power, control, agency, and fun. But to center these pleasures is to privilege certain stories, players, actions and possibility spaces. This thesis uses the framework of intimacy to closely examine three games for their capacity to create pleasure in vulnerability, the loss of control, dependence on others, and precarity.
Drawing from Deleuzian affect theory and feminist, queer and posthuman theorists, I read for intimate affects in the formal, aesthetic, proprioceptive and structural elements of Overwatch, The Last Guardian and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Ultimately, I argue two points: that video games have a unique capacity to generate intimate affects, and that my games of choice push us to rethink our assumptions about what constitutes intimacy more broadly.
Kaelan Doyle Myerscough is a writer and academic. She graduated in June 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in East Asian Studies at McGill University, and wrote her thesis on competitive online gaming communities of the popular franchise Pokémon. Her research interests include transnational new media industries, fan cultures, and emergent forms of academic creation and expression.
Her published work includes an essay on intertextuality between online communities, social activism and Jia Zhangke’s 2013 film A Touch of Sin; a comic/manga adaptation of excerpts from Kathleen Stewart’s Ordinary Affects; and (forthcoming) an essay on resonances between Homer’s Iliad and the 2013 TV series Hannibal. In her free time, Kaelan enjoys writing, drawing, video games, and spur-of-the-moment crafting projects.
Thesis: Intimate Worlds: Reading for Intimate Affects in Contemporary Video Games