Bonnie Ruberg: Video games have always been queer

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m


Wednesday, May 1, 2019
12:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m


Located at Broad Art Center at the UCLA Game Lab room 3252

“Video games have always been queer”: This is the bold argument at the core of Bonnie Ruberg’s new monograph. While popular discussions about queerness in video games often focus on big-name, mainstream games that feature LGBTQ characters, like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, Bonnie Ruberg pushes the concept of queerness in games beyond a matter of representation, exploring how video games can be played, interpreted, and designed queerly, whether or not they include overtly LGBTQ content. In this talk, Ruberg looks to unexpected games like Octodad, Realistic Kissing Simulator, and I Am Bread to demonstrate how the medium of video games itself can—and should—be read queerly.

Bonnie Ruberg, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of digital games and interactive media in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. Their research explores gender and sexuality in digital media and digital cultures with a focus on queerness and video games. They are the author of Video Games Have Always Been Queer (2019, New York University Press) and the co-editor of Queer Game Studies (2017, University of Minnesota Press). Ruberg is also the co-founder and co-organizer of the annual Queerness and Games Conference. They received their Ph.D. with certification in New Media and Gender and Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and served as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California.