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Playing queer: Affordances for sexuality in Fable and Dragon Age

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This article adopts the lens of queer theory to examine the terms of inclusion of non-heterosexual identities within recent mass market role-playing games. Focusing on Lionhead Studios’ Fable and BioWare’s Dragon Age series, I suggest how the intersection of queer theory’s resistance of presumptive categories for sexuality and theories of game design – notably the concept of affordances – may provide for a critique of the performative constraints through which gamers are able to ‘play queer’. While even-handed dynamics of relationship game play may espouse a liberal rhetoric of inclusion, I propose that a predominant logic of sameness – grounded in an even-handed ‘blindness’ to sexual difference – may also restrict the possibilities for queer identification.
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Keywords: Dragon Age; Fable; affordances; queer theory; role play; sexuality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Aberystwyth University

Publication date: 01 March 2013

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  • The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds focuses on theoretical and applied, empirical, critical, rhetorical, creative, economic and professional approaches to the study of electronic games across platforms and genres as well as ludic and serious online environments.
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