Current Equity in Gaming Projects
Applying Social Information Processing Theory to investigate the use of non-verbal cues in Xbox Live: Co-Authored with Dr. Wayne Buente
- The purpose of this research is to examine the process involved in learning information about a person based off of non-verbal cues in Xbox Live, a virtual gaming community. This virtual gaming community relies heavily on Gamertag’s, which is the method of identifying gamers within the space. The Gamertag can be up to 15 characters in length and must adhere to Xbox Live’s Terms of Service and not contain any graphic or offensive language (Gray, 2011). However, Xbox Live users have identified ways to bypass this restriction and still create Gamertag’s that could be deemed offensive. For instance, some African-American gamers opt to have the term ‘Nigga’ displayed in their Gamertag by altering the traditional spelling (Nucca, Nicca, Ni77a, etc). Other examples that may be incorporated into the Gamertag include references to ethnicity (PR, Mex, etc), class (ghetto, hood, etc), gender (Mizz, Miss, Bytch, etc), sexuality (Dyke, Bi, Gay), and even religion (Seek, Tali, etc). We contend that this type of overt displays of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion could lead others to develop negative judgments about the gamer and react in a negative manner within the game.
Culturally Responsive Exercise: Employing the Xbox Kinect as a Technology Based System to Address Health Disparities for Women of Color: Co-Authored with Student Researcher, Renata McCormack
- There are cultural differences that lead to reasons why some populations don’t engage in regular physical activity. Among African-American women, popular culture suggests that Black women don’t exercise because of cultural concerns (hair, lack of focus on Black culture, vanity, etc). A recent study actually suggests that traditional physical activity doesn’t lead to the same benefits for White women as much as Black women. Given the research that highlights that minority disparities in overall health and levels of exercise, this research examines if introducing a technology based alternate means of physical activity would encourage these women to begin working out. Technology has been recently utilized to address weight loss and health concerns within society (Polzien, Jakicic, Tate, & Otto, 2007; Cussler, Teixeira, Going, & Houtkooper, 2008; Tate, Jackvony, & Wing, 2006). Even more recent, studies have emerged using video game specific technology to promote physical activity among children and the elderly specifically (Biddiss and Irwin, 2010; Mhurchu, Maddison, Jiang, & Jull, 2008; Maddison, Mhurchu, & Jull, 2007). Employing the Xbox Kinect and associated dancing and workout games, this research will investigate if employing culturally responsive approaches to working can encourage women of color to increase their physical activity.
Punishing Blackness in Contemporary Gaming Culture (Prospectus in development for University of Illinois Press)
- The purpose of this text is to examine how hegemonic ideology leads to the isolation and exclusion of Blackness and associations with Blackness in gaming culture. As evidenced by recent social movements associated with the Black Lives Matter campaign, White America is mostly ambivalent to the experiences of racial minorities. Ensuring gaming scholarship is responsive to growing trends within social justice, this monograph will examine not only experiences of injustice, but also resistance practices that lead to empowerment within these inequitable spaces. By interrogating Blackness in video games, Blackness in online gaming culture, and Blackness in game development, we must situate this trifecta as a contemporary loop of representation within a ‘plantation complex of visuality’ that spirals back three-and-a-half centuries to the start of the transatlantic slave trade and plantation agriculture. Through a process of classifying (naming, categorizing, and defining), separating (the segregation of groups as a means of social organization), and aestheticizing (making the separated classifications seem right, equal, and pleasing), Mirzoeff defines this as a ‘complex of visuality’ forged in what sustains vast exercises of power and authority.