Title

Christian Identity in Response to Moral Choices in Gaming: A Textual Analysis of Popular Video Games

Date of Award

1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Embargo Date

4-2-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communications

Advisor(s)

Bradley W. Gorham

Keywords

Christian, Identity, Moral Choices, Textual Analysis, Video Games

Subject Categories

Mass Communication

Abstract

This dissertation explores how Christian gamers expressed challenges to their identities after confronting moral choices in four popular console video games. Gamer posts in online discussion forums provided the texts needed to examine these possible position shifts. Game titles and scenes emerged from those discussions, which lead to textual and iconographic analysis of these sessions. The results strongly suggest that video games, like other media, transmit dominant ideology to consumers. The data revealed that these Christian gamers largely accepted dominant hegemonic messages. However some players negotiated with or opposed the texts in ways that revealed how their identity influenced their perceptions of the consequences of game play. Moreover some of these gamers suspect that how they played games might impact their moral character. In providing these results, this study helps to fill a void in academic video game research that for decades has centered on violent and misogynistic content. However this dissertation is only the first step in the process of determining how gamers negotiate with their texts and in doing so accept or resist hegemonic content.

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