Agata Waszkiewicz is a PhD candidate researching independent video games. Their two main areas of interest include the formal experiments in metareferential games and the representation of non-normative identities in them. They published in several international journals including Game Studies, Journal of Game Criticism, and Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds. They are currently working on the upcoming book Delicious Pixels: Food in Video Games to be published in 2022 as part of Video Games and the Humanities series by De Gruyter.
Playing with Identities in Metareferential Video Games
FROG 2020 – Keynote
Although metareferential games still remain a niche, there has been a significant raise in their popularity over the past decade. Often created by individual creators or small studios, these games employ a range of formal devices through which they point to their own materiality and fictionality, confronting players with their preconceptions of the genres and subverting their expectations towards the play experience. It can be argued that, like postmodern literature and film which often used the experiment for its own sake as means of pushing the boundaries of the medium, these titles aim at defamiliarizing the players in order to force them to engage with the text in a more critical manner. Although it would appear that the majority of these experiments are formal or aesthetic in nature, in this presentation I will scrutinize the cases in which developers utilized them to represent the marginalized, oppressed, and non-normative identities.