Tray Ridlen, Art & Design
Houston Cole Library, 11th Floor | 3:45-3:55 p.m.
Escape from Tox City is an interactive commentary on toxic masculinity and bullying in online gaming inspired by my experiences as a female gamer in a stereotypically male realm. The goal of this project is to raise awareness about pockets of extreme unchecked toxic masculinity that exist in online gaming communities, especially League of Legends. League of Legends is a highly competitive multiplayer game notorious for its toxic community. Played by millions each day, the overwhelming majority of its players are young men between the ages of 16 and 30. Online gamers are largely free of the repercussions that dissuade bad behavior in person. As a result, some gamers can be quite hostile. It is common for players to harass one another for not performing well, and this harassment too often includes racial slurs, sexist and homophobic comments, and even death threats. While both men and women can exhibit toxic behavior, the overwhelming majority of toxicity in online gaming falls in the realm of toxic masculinity: ‘a narrow band of harmful culturally reinforced behavior and belief that reduces the idea of what a man is to someone who’s emotionally repressed, thuggishly violent, sexually aggressive, and self-centered’ (O’Malley, “Reclaiming Manhood: Detoxifying Toxic Masculinity”). Tox City is a metaphor for toxicity in online gaming. The board game format serves to simulate the experience of encountering varying levels of online attacks from fellow players. The object of the game is to escape from Tox City; to do so players must work together to defeat trolls and to survive an increasingly toxic environment. The game’s troll cards feature offensive quotes seen and heard while playing League of Legends. These shocking insults and slurs require players to expend varying amounts of energy to either dodge or confront them mimicking the real-life energy expenditure experienced when encountering trolls. If players run out of energy before reaching the end of the game, or if the environment’s toxicity level rises too high, it’s game over for everyone.
student presentations, student papers, gamification, gender studies
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Gender and Sexuality
Record, Carol, "Escape from Tox City" (2020). JSU Student Symposium 2020. 31.