The Magic Circle and Consent in Gaming Practices
This chapter examines gameplay, consent, and sex in regard to Johan Huizinga’s 1944 definition of play and concept of the “magic circle”. The author applies Huizinga’s magic circle to both contemporary sex and gameplay practices including trash talk, role play, and in game rape. The author then outlines their own experiences with gameplay, games culture, and sex to demonstrate the ways in which the consent and boundaries of other players, especially women, are not respected in person or online. The chapter concludes that while trash talk may sometimes be consensual if other players don’t consent to this behavior then it is harassment. The author then encourages gamers to adopt a model of critical consent during gameplay to make gameplay safe and pleasurable for all involved.
KeywordsGender Video games Consent Magic circle BDSM
- Consalvo, Mia. 2012. Confronting Toxic Gamer Culture: A Challenge for Feminist Game Studies Scholars. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology 1 http://adanewmedia.org/blog/2012/11/11/issue1-consalvo/.
- Cross, Katherine. 2014. ‘We Will Force Gaming to Be Free’: On Gamergate & The License to Inflict Suffering. First Person Scholar, October 8. http://www.firstpersonscholar.com/we-will-force-gaming-to-be-free/.
- Dibbell, Julian. 1999. A Rape in Cyberspace. In My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World. New York: Holt Paperbacks.Google Scholar
- Flanagan, Mary. 2009. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Frank, Allegra. 2016. Online Harassment in Virtual Reality Is ‘Way, Way, Way Worse’—But Can Devs Change That? Polygon. March 16. https://www.polygon.com/2016/3/16/11242294/online-harassment-virtual-reality-gdc-2016.
- Haniver, Jenny. 2010. About. Not in the Kitchen Anymore. http://www.notinthekitchenanymore.com/about/.
- Hernandez, Patricia. 2012. Three Words I Said to the Man I Defeated in Gears of War That I’ll Never Say Again. In Violation: Rape in Gaming, ed. Clarisse Thorn and Julian Dibbell. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.Google Scholar
- Huizinga, Johan. 1944. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Juul, Jesper. 2009. The Magic Circle and the Puzzle Piece. In Conference Proceedings of The Philosophy of Computer Games 2008, ed. Stephan Günzel, Michael Liebe, and Dieter Mersch. Universitätsverlag Potsdam.Google Scholar
- Klepek, Patrick. 2012. When Passions Flare, Lines Are Crossed. Giant Bomb. February 28. https://www.giantbomb.com/articles/when-passions-flare-lines-are-crossed-updated/1100-4006/.
- Kushner, David. 2004. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. Reprint ed. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.Google Scholar
- Laurenson, Lydia. 2012. How to Deal with Rape in Roleplaying Games. In Violation: Rape in Gaming, ed. Clarisse Thorn and Julian Dibbell. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.Google Scholar
- Moore, Anne C. 2012. Women in Gaming: Conversation on Roleplaying Game Rape. In Violation: Rape in Gaming, ed. Clarisse Thorn and Julian Dibbell. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.Google Scholar
- Nakamura, Lisa. 2012. Queer Female of Color: The Highest Difficulty Setting There Is? Gaming Rhetoric as Gender Capital. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology 2: 1 http://adanewmedia.org/blog/2012/11/11/issue1-nakamura/.Google Scholar
- Poremba, Cindy. 2007. Critical Potential on the Brink of the Magic Circle. In Situated Play, Proceedings of DiGRA 2007 Conference.Google Scholar
- Ruberg, Bonnie. 2010. Sex as Game: Playing with the Erotic Body in Virtual Worlds. Rhizomes Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge 21. http://www.rhizomes.net/issue21/ruberg.html.
- Sampat, Elizabeth. 2016. Here’s How We Failed Women at GDC 2016. Gamasutra. March 21. https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/ElizabethSampat/20160321/268527/Heres_How_We_Failed_Women_at_GDC_2016.php.
- Stenros, Jaakko. 2012. In Defence of a Magic Circle: The Social and Mental Boundaries of Play. In Proceedings of DiGRA Nordic 2012 Conference: Local and Global – Games in Culture and Society.Google Scholar
- Sun-Higginson, Shannon. 2015. GTFO: Get the F&#% Out. [Documentary].Google Scholar
- Thorn, Clarisse. 2012. Reflections on Game Rape, Feminism, Sadomasochism, and Selfhood. In Violation: Rape in Gaming, ed. Julian Dibbell and Clarisse Thorn. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.Google Scholar