AMC Game Types – Contextual Report BCM215

Welcome to the conclusion of my digital artefact for BCM215! I have attached my expanded and more technical explanation and analysis into my digital artefact. But below is my summarised experience with my digital artefact!

(Sound Cloud – https://soundcloud.com/alex-cooper-647858904/amc-game-types-digital)

There are approximately 500 hours of videos uploaded onto YouTube every single minute. There is always someone in the world, actually, there is always a bunch of people watching YouTube at one point in time. YouTube allows viewers to watch many different kinds of videos, they might be beauty-related, they might be gossip related, they can even be videos with calming music for animals. But one area of YouTube I decided to focus on was the Let’s Play area of YouTube.

Let’s Play is a type of video where creators of “Let’s Players” will sit down in front of their camera (or no camera) and they will record themselves playing through videogames. This came across as a strange sensation when it rose to popularity at around 2012, but sitting here in 2021, to most individuals, this is something that is normal, and Let’s Players have been able to make it their whole career.

When in BCM215 this semester, we were asked to base our digital artefact around game’s and their paratext, and I found this sensation of the Let’s Play video quite interesting, but I wanted to look a little deeper into the Let’s Play videos with their large popularity – this then leading me initially to actually looking at live streamers on platforms such as Twitch and their interaction with the characters in the games they play, and if this is different based on their gender.

So, starting from this point of live streamers and their interactions with characters from the perspective of gender, I set about making my own Twitch account, streaming myself and creating a self-analysis, but also examining other streamers and how they interact also. If you have read my Beta blog post for this, you would have learnt a few things…

I did indeed stream on my Twitch channel, but it was nothing noteworthy as I came across some issues whilst I was going. I had to teach myself how to use OBS Stream Labs Studio, funnily enough – my laptop blue screened twice! And then because my entire family at the time were working/learning from home – you would understand the Wi-Fi was absolutely dreadful, this then resulted in being forced to stream when the Wi-Fi was running well, which happened to be around 1am. In the long run, this wasn’t very productive.

With the good ol’ FEFO skills that have been instilled in me since I started at UOW three years ago, I was sure my digital artefact had to take a different direction. Here comes the creation of AMC Game Types, an Instagram account that explores the interaction between Let’s Player’s and specific characters in games – with the perspective of gender in mind and the stereotypes that have been placed upon them.

Since then, I have found multiple times where Let’s Players may interact with these characters in ways that fit into the stereotypes placed upon their genders. An example may be, Let’s Player Ashbfc who has 15.6k subscribers, played through the 1996 version of the Tomb Raider game. Here at multiple times in the video, a joke or not refers to the main female character Lara Croft at different points in a sexualised nature, here are some of the quotes below…

Looking sexy as ever, and those mind-blowing 90’s 3D graphics, man what are those triangles coming out of her chest area” (4min 58sec – 5min 15sec)

Look at Lara’s little shorts, come on we all had a crush on her in those tiny little shorts” (5min 35 sec – 5min 47sec)

“So we got a good shot of Lara’s pointy tits right there, she’s also got a square ass as well.” (7min 42sec – 7min 54 sec)

Tomb Raider] The evolution of Lara Croft [x-post from /r/gaming]:  GameEvolution

Now, these are just a few of the quotes made by Let’s Players in regard to just one of the characters that I decided to look on. Of course, I feel like it is obvious, but I do need to state this point, not ALL Let’s Players are like this, and as we progress as a society, we see these stereotyped characters and the interaction between Let’s Players, gradually decrease. But unfortunately, as much as I don’t want to say it, it is still occurring, a little more often than you may want to think.

Many videos can find that with female characters, Let’s Players are more likely to make comments that may refer to their physical appearance, or their emotional reactions, perhaps the character makes a wrong move, or perhaps they don’t agree with another character. For younger female characters eg. Ellie from The Last of Us, Let’s Players are more likely to adopt a ‘mentor’ attitude with Ellie’s character but are still surprised when Ellie may react in ways that aren’t expected of a ‘little girl’ eg. swearing, violent nature, and they can even find it amusing and cute.

But I look also at how male characters are treated by Let’s Players. Most do not see issues with the representation of male characters in video games, and most support the characters in the games. But men are just as stereotyped in games, the level of hypermasculinity completely overrules any kind of personality of the character, and instead leaves a violent, muscular, emotionless man. Let’s Player’s are more likely, from my own research, to encourage the male characters to pursue violent options, they berate male characters who may seem to be ‘weak’ and can even call names.

So, when little Joe who watches his favourite Let’s Player encourage Nathan Drake (Uncharted) to be reckless, sarcastic, and dangerous, do we believe there may be an influence on him? Will little Joe go out and try being just like Nathan Drake? Or how about Susan who may be watching a Let’s Player shame her favourite character Chloe (Life is Strange) because she might be a little different or ‘annoying’ – will Susan then feel like she can’t act in a way she wants to because she thinks others might find it annoying?  

 I was unable to find much evidence on this research from this perspective but Texas Creative’s article “The Power of YouTube Influencers” believes that for the number of time audiences engage with creators there is no doubt that there is some form of influence on the mind, perhaps you may like something that the creator likes, or some part of their own personality might even resonate with you.

Looking overall, I believe that my DA has been successful in the terms of researching what I was looking at, but in terms of audience interaction, perhaps not as successful. There was limited growth in my followers during my time on Instagram – only earning about 7 follows, but when reposting stories and interacting with other accounts I had a fair amount of traction there.

I had one day reposted some videogame screen clips and received a strange amount of over 100 views! This was really strange but also not so strange because I had been interacting with a lot of pages that day and commenting on fellow videogame Instagram accounts, so that really showed to me with a little activity, it can really boost your account view rates.

All in all, I believe I can continue the AMC Game Types account as it is a topic I am highly passionate about being a woman in the 21st century that does enjoy regularly playing video games and watching Let’s Play videos of those games. As mentioned earlier, I go into the technical side a little more in my video, but for now, that’s all folks!

BCM215, you have been good fun and an enjoyable subject for the tough semester it has been. A large thanks to Chris, Richard and especially my tutor Pete for supporting us all in this time!

Till next time,

Alex.

References –

Miller, M.K., Summers, A. Gender Differences in Video Game Characters’ Roles, Appearances, and Attire as Portrayed in Video Game Magazines. Sex Roles 57, 733–742 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9307-0

Amanda Potts (2015) ‘LOVE YOU GUYS (NO HOMO)’, Critical Discourse Studies, 12:2, 163-186, DOI: 10.1080/17405904.2014.974635

Content Analysis of Gamer Image and Channel Popularity on YouTube: Negotiating Stereotype, Xuejing Yao, May 2017, https://scholarworks.calstate.edu/downloads/9019s556h

Burgess, M.C.R., Stermer, S.P. & Burgess, S.R. Sex, Lies, and Video Games: The Portrayal of Male and Female Characters on Video Game Covers. Sex Roles 57, 419–433 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9250-0

The Power of YouTube Influencers, Author unknown, April 2019, https://texascreative.com/blog/power-youtube-influencers

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