Date of Award

8-1-2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Johnson, Phylis

Abstract

The video game as a medium is young compared to film or literature. As such there is less research available on the subject, particularly in the area of video game criticism related to sexualization and gender issues that underscore stereotypical portrayals of women, ethnicity, and overall gender roles. What research there is regarding video games primarily uses still images or short gameplay segments as data sources. Given the long form narrative that many video games employ to engage players, such data sources do not give a full picture of the video game's content. The purpose of this project is to create a tool that can be used by academics and industry professionals to collect data on various aspects of video game content easily and reliably. Inspired by the objectivity and unambiguous construction of the Bechdel-Wallace test, the Prototype Stark Gaming Metric (pSGM) has been constructed following the same principles. The pSGM is an instrument of various categories informed by previous media research. These categories are then coded to reflect a video game's content that is "typical" and "atypical" (as defined by previous research). Once coded, the metric produces a single numeric value representing what amount of a video game's content is "typical" or "atypical." The metric was applied to two contemporary video games to both assess the usefulness of the metric's coding itself and reveal any major issues with the method, coding system, and coding categories.

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