PopagandaVideo Games and Identity


Video games are a huge piece of our pop culture industry. People who don’t play games maybe think that they’re a weird, dorky niche that only a few people play. But that’s exactly the opposite of true. Globally, video games are a $91 billion industry. Fifty-nine percent of people in the United States play video games—that’s 186 million people, more Americans than have cable TV. We don’t call someone a TV-er or a movie-er, but for some reason, playing video games still gets you pegged as a “gamer.”

On this episode, we talk with Sam Riedel about the fragile masculinity behind Gamergate and how playing video games growing up made her think differently about gender. Then, scholar Saud Al-Zaid walks us through representation of Arab identity in massively popular first-person-shooter games and explains the surprising connections between video games and the U.S. military. 






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• Read Sam Riedels article about the fallout from Gamergate, No Girls Allowed. 

• Rad artist Sammus let us use her song Power Up in this episode. Her music draws beats and inspiration from video game soundtracks. Check out her newest tracks. Other music on this episode comes courtesy of Soundcloud users 8-Bit Songs and Chiptune Mikey.

• Big thanks to Lorenzo of BerlinA MAZE indie video game festival for connecting us with Saud Al-Zaid.  

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This podcast will be transcribed by Cheryl Green of StoryMinders. We’re proud to make Popaganda accessible to people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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