Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Masculinity is an understudied topic in video games. Traditional literature considered video game as a traditional media and focused mostly on video games content, thus contributed to the common myth that playing video games make people more violent. However, recent studies suggest that video game is distinctive compared to traditional media, and that violence is not the motivating factor in video games. This study involves a content analysis of 22 video game reviews and a non-participant observation of 4 gamers playing The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. The results suggest it is not violence, but rather agency that governs the dynamics of the video gaming experience. Each of the four gamers exhibits an unique play style, two of which minimize or dismiss violence. This suggests that gamers incorporate their morality into the virtual gaming experience, and that the dynamics of gender and identity are complex and independent of the games’ inherent values.