The Sexual Politics of Video Game Graphics

  • Robert Mejia
  • Barbara LeSavoy
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)


This chapter offers a historical analysis of how graphical trends in the video game industry affect the gender and sexual politics of video game representation. Our interest in graphical trends means that we are less interested in specific visual representations but rather the broader question of visual regimes. To this end, this chapter first explores how the sexual politics of visuality evolved across the Atari 2600 and Nintendo Entertainment System. We then focus on the Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider franchises to illustrate how the transition from the realism of the PlayStation 1 era to the photorealism of the PlayStation 3 era resulted in a convergence in sexual representation. Our argument is that the visual structures of contemporary gaming are negatively impacting how games represent women.


Gender Video games Representation Visual regime Realism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Mejia
    • 1
  • Barbara LeSavoy
    • 2
  1. 1.North Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  2. 2.The College at Brockport (SUNY)BrockportUSA

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