Kirkland, E (2009) Masculinity in video games: The gendered gameplay of Silent Hill. Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture and Media Studies, 71, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 161-183
This article questions how gender is constructed and represented across the Silent Hill videogame series, focusing in particular on the construction of masculinity as a gender position that the player performs. Building on the work of scholars Diane Carr (Games and Gender, 2006) and Justine Cassell and Herny Jenkins (From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games, 1999) that have examined how gender is constructed in videogames through the visual avatar, this article investigates how gender may also be performed through narrative design and gaming elements, such as cut-scenes, character design, weaponry and combat, gamespace, objectives, and optical perspective.
Through an examination of key issues in videogame scholarship, including identification, characterisation, narrative, violence, and agency, the article shows how the Silent Hill series challenges traditional models of masculinity through videogame characterisation, representation and play.
The first article in Camera Obscura to examine gender politics in videogames, this article considers ideas of identification, characterisation, narrative, violence, and agency in videogames to complicate common assumptions concerning the simplicity of the medium. The interdisciplinary nature of the article and place of publication meant that Kirkland needed to work closely with the editors to bring videogame scholarship to bear on discussions of women’s cinema and feminist film theory.