Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Liminal Space Occupied by Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Game: First Thoughts

The Liminal Space Occupied by Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Game

    There have always been television shows, and films, that from their inception are labelled as “cult” programs and these “fringe” productions are usually associated with fringe fandoms. Not surprisingly, the transmedia (video games, board games, novelizations, etc.) and products (collector dolls, stills, other collectibles) of these shows/films recognize this liminal space that they occupy, and appeal to a very specific audience/marketing demographic. This can perhaps be most clearly seen in male oriented television shows and their translation to video games. The realm of role playing has for the most part, been a male dominated arena, whether it’s traditional role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, or games such as Magic. So what can be made of The Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game, based a show with a strong female protagonist, the very definition of “girl power”, that has it’s roots in the male dominated role playing genre? I will explore the ways in which the game explore and reject gender stereotypes, whether or not the board game is “coded” for gender, and if so, how does this compare to the target audience of the show, how the game navigates and transverses the boundaries of both the source text, and the source genre.
My initial questions:
  •  In what ways are role playing games "coded" male?
  • Which of these ways are present in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game?
  • Are these ways up for interpretation, or are they built into the rules/structure of the game?
  • Are these structures inherent to the RPG? As in, can RPGs exist without them?
  • If so, what possible reason could there be for including them in a game where the source material is seen as representative of the "Grrl Power" of the 1990s?
  • In what way (if any other than addressing the above point) does the game negotiate this?
  • How does a board game, specifically an RPG board game occupy liminal space?
  • How is this liminal space increased by the borders the game explores as a female focused narrative with a male focused genre?
  • Is this liminal space different from the liminal space that has been discussed in Video Game RPGs? If so, how? What makes it different?

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