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28.09.2013
About the TalkThe culture of fighting games a€” digital games of competitive martial arts-style combata€”is one of the most interesting and contentious of gamer subcultures. Todd explains that ethnographic work included attending the EVO tournament in 2009 and interviews with fighting game players in 2009 and 2010. The Practice of PlayThe idea of fairness and balance is incredibly important to fighting game players. A character in the game was booed at in event because her combination of moves was very easy to complete and offered no counter play. The women Todd met at EVO had arcade sticks which is the badge of DFG players, but he didn’t see them compete. E-sports are a sanitized version of professional gaming that the FGC doesn’t want to be a part of.
His current research focuses on both competitive communities and their cultural norms, as well as queer and gender representation and issues in gaming culture.The following is a rough account of the talk and Q&A. He met a lot of of resistance as a threat to the community, particularly concerning issues with confidentiality and speaker credits.
The players want to see full matches.It is considered good manners to allow the opponent to win the second game in a best of three.


The community has a strong belief in meritocracy, where the logic was: if you have skill you will rise to the top. The female player, Miranda, eventually threw a match so that she could leave the tournament since she was so uncomfortable. There is a different attitude towards competitive e-sports in Asian nations, which is embodied in the form of Daigo Umehara, the Japanese god of fighting games. They are constantly working in the tension of engaging a broader set of players, but only on their terms. There are still the same archetypal characters: nimble characters (women) and big, strong, slow men. The event got large enough that there would not be enough machines in the nation to allow all the participants to play. BurnUrBra is another example of a woman who is barraged by both misogynistic and racist slurs. Can you compare it to the League of Legends community that tends to be very elitist?Todd:There is a stereotype that the internet makes people treat people worse, because people are more detached. However, often see players helping others realize how they may beat them with the idea being that the better the community is, the richer the community will be as a whole.


However, in Japan, I see a lot of girls wearing those dresses and costumes that are referencing the games.
Many women don’t reveal themselves as female and when they do, they face serious repercussions. Do they change in reaction to these communities?Todd:There is an immense amount of communication between developers and the FGC. When I was at the EVO in 2009, the director of Street Fighter 4 was there to talk to the people and show that he was there to listen to the players. Japanese companies will have location tests to have players come and give feedback on balance etc. Now developers can change the game on the fly and are much more observant of community desires.



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