Alum Bonnie Ruberg on Queer Indie Video Games in American Quarterly

05 Nov, 2018

Alum Bonnie Ruberg on Queer Indie Video Games in American Quarterly

In September 2018, Volume 70, Number 3 of American Quarterly was published. The special issue was titled Toward a Critically Engaged Digital Practice: American Studies and the Digital Humanities. Bonnie Ruberg had her own piece featured in the cross-disciplinary journal.

Her piece is called "Queer Indie Video Games as an Alternative Digital Humanities:Counterstrategies for Cultural Critique through Interactive Media." Read the Abstract below.


Since 2012 the American video games landscape has seen a rising tide of experimental, independently developed queer digital games. In this essay, I argue that the development of these games can be considered a form of digital humanities practice, and that the game makers who produce them can be seen as performing their own genre of American studies scholarship. Together, these games and their creators offer an alternative vision of the digital humanities, modeling counterstrategies for critical engagement through queer, digital praxis and pushing current conversations around diversity, representation, and social justice in DH in important new directions. To illustrate how these games model an alternative DH, this essay draws from interviews conducted with the queer indie game designers Aevee Bee, Andi McClure, and Nicky Case. Building from work by scholars like Tara McPherson, Kara Keeling, and Moya Bailey, this essay contributes to a larger push from scholars of sexuality, gender, and race within DH to interrogate the methods and meanings of the digital humanities and to continue to expand the field's engagement with perspectives that have too long been pushed to the margins.


Bonnie Ruberg is assistant professor of digital media and games in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Their research explores gender and sexuality in digital media and digital cultures. They are the coeditor of the volume Queer Game Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), the author of the monograph Video Games Have Always Been Queer (New York University Press, forthcoming), and a cofounder and long-time organizer of the annual Queerness and Games Conference.

The whole issue, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, is made available on here with restricted access.