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Team Leads
Game Studies

A team of student researchers aiming to understand the dynamics of contemporary entertainment and culture – exploring the relationships between games, audience, fandom, and everything in between.

Game Studies Team Members
Game Studies Projects

Game Studies is a group dedicated to exploring interactions with contemporary entertainment that are often overlooked in the realm of academia.

Though named “game studies” due to the groups origins of focusing on the dynamics of video games and gaming culture, the Game Studies Team as a whole works to investigate counter hegemonic topics in an attempt to introduce underexplored dynamics to academia and normalize discussion of non-normalized contemporary media interactions.

In other words: we research what others overlook.

People connect with media and characters in a variety of ways with nuanced and unique ways of expressing their attachments. In the fandom space, notable terms such as “shipping,” “simping,” “self-shipping,” and “kinning” are used by fans to identify certain feelings they hold towards characters, but these distinct attachments have yet to be considered through the lens of parasocial relationships. The current work explores these emerging patterns of parasocial relationships with fictional characters within contemporary fandom communities and the attributes that lead to the development of those relationships.


Shippers and Kinnies: Re-conceptualizing Parasocial Relationships with Fictional Characters in Contemporary Fandom

As online gaming becomes an increasingly popular form of media, the growth and complexity of gaming specific toxic behaviors merits evaluation. Toxicity of gaming communities can even manifest outside of the game itself, such as orbitally through online social media communities. The current work focuses on examining the orbital toxicity of a specific series of events within the young Genshin Impact community in an attempt to evaluate the relationship between a toxic game’s reputation and the behaviors of its players.

Within the past year, short-form video platforms such as TikToks, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels have seen the rise of “Sludge Videos,” or vertical videos that pair user clips driven by narrative with unrelated visually stimulating footage. In doing so, it engages viewers while manipulating their attention across multiple loads of information. The current work aims to explore how sludge videos seemingly both divide and retain our attention.