Feminist War Games? explores the critical intersections and collisions between feminist values and perceptions of war, by asking whether feminist values can be asserted as interventional approaches to the design, play, and analysis of games that focus on armed conflict and economies of violence.

Focusing on the ways that games, both digital and table-top, can function as narratives, arguments, methods, and instruments of research, the volume demonstrates the impact of computing technologies on our perceptions, ideologies, and actions. Exploring the compatibility between feminist values and systems of war through games is a unique way to pose destabilizing questions, solutions, and approaches; to prototype alternative narratives; and to challenge current idealizations and assumptions. Positing that feminist values can be asserted as a critical method of design, as an ideological design influence, and as a lens that determines how designers and players interact with and within arenas of war, the book addresses the persistence and brutality of war and issues surrounding violence in games, whilst also considering the place and purpose of video games in our cultural moment.

Feminist War Games? is a timely volume that questions the often-toxic nature of online and gaming cultures. As such, the book will appeal to a broad variety of disciplinary interests, including sociology, education, psychology, literature, history, politics, game studies, digital humanities, media and cultural studies, and gender studies, as well as those interested in playing, or designing, socially engaged games.

part I|2 pages


chapter |8 pages

Feminist war games?

Mechanisms of war, feminist values, and interventional games
ByAlyssa Arbuckle, Jon Saklofske, Jon Bath

part II|2 pages

Play as inquiry

chapter 1|17 pages

Are there (can there be/should there be) feminist war games?

ByJon Saklofske, Emily Cann, Danielle Rodrigue-Todd, Derek Siemens

chapter 2|8 pages

Gendered authorship in war gaming

Whose fantasy is it anyway?
ByAnastasia Salter

chapter 3|15 pages

An overview of the history and design of tabletop wargames in relation to gender

From tactics to strategy
ByMatt Shoemaker

chapter 4|11 pages

Reframing the domestic experience of war in This War of Mine

Life on the battlefield
ByRyan House

part III|2 pages

Feminism as war

chapter 5|15 pages

Gamified suburban violence and the feminist pleasure of destructive play

Rezoning warzones
ByAdan Jerreat-Poole

chapter 6|9 pages

Because we are always warring

Feminism, games, and war
BySuzanne de Castell, Jennifer Jenson

chapter 7|10 pages

Exploring agency and female player–character relationships in Life Is Strange

What choice do I have?
ByAndrea Luc

chapter 8|18 pages

‘What is a feminist war game?’

A game jam reflection
BySarah Stang

part IV|2 pages

Challenging the industry

chapter 9|11 pages

Feminism and the forever wars

Prototyping games in the time of ‘America First’
ByElizabeth Losh

chapter 10|18 pages

Seven dimensions of a feminist war game

What we can learn from This War of Mine
ByChristopher Kampe

chapter 11|17 pages

Failed feminist interventions in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

ByMark Kaethler

chapter 12|15 pages

Subversive game mechanics in the Fatal Frame and Portal franchises

Having your cake and eating it too
ByGabi Kirilloff

chapter 13|11 pages

Toxic pacifism

The problems with and potential of non-violent playthroughs
ByJon Bath, Elly Cockcroft

part V|2 pages


chapter 195Taking binaries off the table|7 pages

ByMary Flanagan