Sarah Christina Ganzon Racialized and Indigenous Scholars Network Talk

May 17, 2024

On Wednesday, May 15th, School of Communication professor Sarah Christina Ganzon delivered a talk for the CCA Racialized and Indigenous Scholars Network. See below for the talk details and the full video of the talk. 

I: The Diplomacy Patch: Diplomacy and Neo-Colonialism in Civilization 6 and Victoria 3

by Sarah Christina Ganzon

Discussants: Sebastian Zhao (York) Nansy Khanano (TMU)

Within game studies, scholars have addressed colonial mechanics and tropes not only in strategy games, but also roleplaying games, war games, survival horror games, and mobile games. Scholars have also addressed how discourses of diplomacy in games create tropes such as the multicultural manager or cartographers helping indigenous others. Moreover, scholarship on game patches demonstrates how games are unstable objects that tend to change over time.

This paper is a part of a larger project examining colorblind racism or softer forms of racism within games and game cultures. Focusing on Civilization VI and Victoria 3, the paper continues those examinations of colonial game mechanics and game patching by focusing on how developers choose to address or patch up the colonial mechanics of previous iterations of their games by introducing more gameplay mechanics that encourage diplomacy. By choosing to patch up colonialism with diplomacy, these games mask neo-colonial discourses, colorblind racism and post-racial myths that frame colonial Others as those always in need of guidance and education. Moreover, I highlight the importance of examining patches in examining discourses of colonialism. These patches indicate the ongoing process of addressing colonialism in games.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Sarah Christina Ganzon is an Assistant Professor of the School of Communication at SFU. Her research revolves mostly around the areas of game studies and digital fandom. Recently, she finished her thesis on otome games in English, and otome game players.