“After completing my Master’s in English Literature, I worked for some time while preparing for PhD entrance exams. This break between my studies was important because it helped me realize that traditional research on literature did not excite me. I wanted to do something that was more path-breaking. I soon started thinking along the lines of how narrative media had evolved over the centuries and how stories were told today through video games. My research focuses on how video game-worlds are experienced and how they tell stories, especially in non-aggressive indie video games.
Even though I liked playing video games as a child, I lost interest in my teenage years. I fell back in love with them in my early twenties and eventually made a career out of it. The gaming world is primarily male-dominated and as a woman, it was initially hard for me to find, play, and research the kind of games I felt comfortable with.
Through my research, I have been bringing awareness that gaming is more than just an outlet to release pent-up rage. The stigma associated with video games being violent is largely owed to the big labels that make these violent and aggressive games. There are plenty of cerebral and emotional indie video games, with great narratives, social messages, and aesthetics that are overshadowed by their toxic counterparts. Indie games are a viable solution for people who do not want to play the current variety of popular but aggressive games in the market. With more representation from female game designers and developers in the creative process of video games, there is a shift in how the gaming industry works today, but there is still a long way to go.
My PhD journey has been quite a ride. When I started off, I was very excited but did not know where to begin. I was the only person at my university who had embarked on a PhD with such a novel topic. The Internet became my virtual supervisor of sorts, and it took me about a year to come up with a reading list. My real supervisor, although very supportive, couldn’t help too much as this was way out of his realm of expertise. Soon, I started reaching out to the big names in my field and they all turned out to be incredibly helpful. I got unspeakable amounts of support, collaboration opportunities, and guidance. Once I started attending different game studies conferences, I realized the importance of…