Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Les Harrison

Second Advisor

Cristina Stanciu

Third Advisor

Christine J. Cynn


This thesis examines narrative representation of female characters in video games and how game narratives and representations contribute to socio-cultural discourse. First, this thesis explores and defines the cultural background for female representation in video games. It then defines video games as a type of text and describes the features that are unique to games, such as the use of avatars, and what impacts these features have on game narratives. The thesis attempts to establish evidence of an evolutionary arc of comprehensive female representation in video games by first exploring historical female narrative tropes, and then comparing them to narrative case studies of female characters within five recent game titles (Tomb Raider, Bayonetta, Dragon Age, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and Horizon: Zero Dawn). In these case studies, the implications for their representations of female characters are analyzed in the context of socio-cultural discourse. Furthermore, this thesis argues for the importance of diverse representation within video games as a form of media, and as cultural objects that contribute to social discourse.


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