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Let’s Players, Characters, Gender and Participation in Videogames

The biggest part of my digital artefact is looking at how Let’s Player’s interact with videogame characters in the perspective of gender. So, it is difficult to look at my digital artefact with one game in mind, but one thing that remains the same is that they are played by Let’s Play YouTube channels, and this is considered to be my paratext in my analytical framework as I am looking into how individuals react with particular genders in videogames, and is this a programmed reaction from societies stereotypes? 

Joost Raessen’s “Computer Games as Participatory Media Culture” looks at videogame characteristics and analyses how players become participants. The way they participate come under two main frameworks being:

The types of participation.

  • Interpretation
  • Reconfiguration
  • Construction


The techniques of participation.

  • Multimediality
  • Virtuality
  • Interactivity and connectivity

Below, are some points how my digital artefact comes under these points of Raessen’s “Computer Games as Participatory Media Culture”.

Interpretation –

My digital artefact draws on how we interpret characters in videogames and how we interact with them, and are these interactions influenced by the gender of the character? Are we expected to be softer to female characters because as a society we are trained to expect females are weak? I from here, am looking at Let’s Players publicly expressing their interpretation of characters, and then interpreting myself how they are interacting with one another.

Reconfiguration –

Reconfiguration is part of the process that happens in the production stage. A representation of this stage is when I am documenting my research and experience in watching Let’s Player’s and their interaction between characters.

Construction –

In terms of Raessen’s work, he shares that construction is understood as the addition of new game elements or the modification of existing games. Whilst I am not particularly involved in this stage, it might be shown through the Let’s Play videos of the YouTubers or perhaps even through the posts of the characters I edit to make the pictures more ‘eye-catching’.

Multimediality –

Multimediality can be presented different forms of media which can be things such as text, audio, video, images etc. In relation to my own work, I am watching a lot of videos and reading a fair few articles to gather my research but am also creating my own Instagram posts with edited images of characters. The ability of using an Instagram profile, is one that allows my audience to participate in viewing with me.

Virtuality –

Virtuality as described by Raessen is “the possibility to stimulate virtual worlds a gamer can explore” (J.Raessen, 2005), the most obvious representation of this is the videogames themselves, but another really key point of this that relates is the use of YouTube for my research on existing Let’s Play content. You are involving yourself in this stimulated world and the use of YouTube lets you do what Raessen described which is, “…virtual worlds a gamer can explore”, you are following a gamer explore these universes and alongside them, you are experiencing what they might experience as if you were a part of that yourself.

Interactivity and Connectivity –

Interactivity and connectivity in my digital artefact is something that is quite important and plays a large role. Interactivity is the interaction between player and the game, and this is where Let’s Players are playing these games, and they are literally interacting with the characters in the games – which is the most crucial part of my study on their interaction between one another in perspective of gender. Connectivity is the next stage of my digital artefact, where players are connecting with other players or individuals to exchange game ideas, conversations etc. So at this stage I am examining from the interaction with characters, to the Let’s Players connecting with their audiences, myself included.


Published by Alex Cooper

UOW Communication and Media Student - Majoring in Digital and Social Media - Minoring in Graphic Design

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