The New Imitation Game

The Queer Sinitic Potentialities of Internet Romance Games

in Screen Bodies
Author: Carlos Rojas1
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  • 1 Duke University, USA c.rojas@duke.edu

Abstract

Taking as its starting point the “original” variant of Alan Turing's famous “imitation game” (in which a test subject attempts to differentiate, based purely on textual output, between a man and a woman), this article considers the ways in which gender and sexuality are simulated in the contemporary genre of virtual romance or dating video games. The article focuses on three Sinitic games, each of which strategically queers this predominantly heteronormative genre. In queering desire, moreover, these Sinitic games simultaneously suggest ways in which Chinese society itself may also be strategically queered.

In addition to his role in helping develop the theoretical basis for modern computers and helping break Germany's Enigma code during World War II, Alan Turing is best known for his proposal of what he called the “imitation game,” and which has subsequently come to be known as the Turing test. In a 1950 article, Turing sketched out a scenario in which a test subject (whom Turning calls an “interrogator”) is placed in a room with two monitors—one of which is operated by a computer while the other is secretly controlled by a human. Turing suggests that, if the test subject is unable to determine which monitor is controlled by the human and which is controlled by the computer, then this would confirm that the computer had attained artificial intelligence (A.I.) (Turing 1950).

Although Turing, in this article, focuses primarily on the relationship between human and machine intelligence, he opens the article with a discussion not of intelligence but rather of gender:

I propose to consider the question, ‘Can machines think?” This should begin with definitions of the meaning of the terms “machine” and “think.” … But this is absurd. Instead of attempting such a definition I shall replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.

The new form of the problem can be described in terms of a game which we call the “imitation game.” It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays in a room apart from the other two. The object of the game for the interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and which is the woman. (Turing 1950: 433)

Despite Turing's explicit interest in artificial intelligence, this initial gender-focused variant of his test reveals that the model's underlying concern is actually with the fungibility of attributes, such as gender and intelligence, that may circulate between an array of human and nonhuman agents.1 Just as the A.I. version of the Turing test speaks to the question of whether computers may successfully perform “human” intelligence, the parallel gender version of the test raises the question of whether humans themselves can perform and embody different sexes, genders, and sexual orientations.

In the following discussion, I consider a body of contemporary material that brings together some of the core concerns of both versions of Turing's imitation game model. In particular, I examine a subset of video games that focus on romantic or erotic themes, including both romantic “adventure games” (AVG), which are structured as a “choose your own adventure” type of visual novel, as well as “dating simulation” (dating sim) games, in which players manipulate a virtual avatar in an attempt to seduce an array of simulated characters. Whereas in AVG, which resemble multimedia books, the player has a relatively limited ability to influence the direction of the narrative, dating sim games are more interactive and usually allow players to accrue “value points” as a result of the choices that they make within the game space. What both of these subgenres share, however, is the assumption that virtual figures can produce real emotional responses from the game's human players. By featuring virtual figures endowed with gendered and sexual properties, in other words, these games illustrate the ability of these nominally human attributes to circulate between human and nonhuman subject positions.

Although romance games are designed to produce emotional responses on the part of the player, they succeed not because the player is unable to distinguish between real and virtual agents (as is the case in the A.I. variant of Turing's test), but rather despite the player's conscious awareness that the characters with which he or she is interacting are merely simulacra. In other words, whereas Turing's emphasis was on cognitive concerns (i.e., whether humans are able to conceptually differentiate between man and woman, human and machine), these romance games focus instead on questions of affect (i.e., whether these nonhuman interfaces are able to arouse an emotional response similar to that which one finds in interactions with humans), and the player's affective response to the games may be independent of his or her conscious awareness of what the games are doing. Although, generally speaking, the genre of romance games tends to be emphatically heteronormative, I argue that the virtual medium, by its very nature, invites an exploration of an array of queer potentialities, wherein the inherent fluidity of gender assignments and attendant sexual orientations works in tension with the more limited understanding of gender and sexuality that characterizes the putatively heteronormative orientation of many of these games.

Accordingly, I will begin by considering some of the queer implications of the romance game genre itself, and then will examine a few recent games that either implicitly or explicitly develop some of these queer potentialities. Within the category of contemporary romance games, moreover, I will focus specifically on a subcategory of Sinitic games. Just as romance games illustrate the degree to which gendered and sexual attributes may circulate between different subject positions, this subcategory of Sinitic games often projects a set of Chinese sociocultural elements onto existing game models that already feature elements associated with other national or regional traditions, and in this way illustrates the fungible nature of these sociocultural elements themselves. In focusing on this particular subcategory, I am interested not only in individual games that happen to have queer or Sinitic qualities, but rather in how the very category of romance games invites a queer Sinitic perspective that challenges the assumption that gender/sexual or sociocultural attributes are fixed qualities that are linked to heteronormative or nationalistic paradigms in a unitary manner.

Sex and Simulation

It is widely acknowledged that sex has provided a crucial catalyst for the popularization of many new electronic and digital technologies. For instance, early adoption of technologies such as camcorders, VCRs, cable TV, premium telephone services, computers, and even the internet itself was driven in part by consumers seeking more convenient and discreet ways of producing, accessing, and consuming sexual content (Coopersmith 1998). Conversely, these same technologies have often had a transformative impact on people's relationship to sex itself, whereby processes of electronic mediation have come to be perceived as an integral component of romantic and sexual relationships. Most obviously, online dating platforms have helped to revolutionize the way in which people approach dating, and it is increasingly common for American couples to have met via these sorts of dating apps. More generally, the proliferation of these sorts of platforms encourages individuals to adopt an increasingly heuristic approach to dating, thereby adding an element of abstraction to what is arguably one of the most intimate of human rituals.

Although dating apps attempt to facilitate real-life encounters in contrast to romance games and dating sim games, which instead simulate a romantic encounter within the virtual space, dating apps nevertheless feature a set of virtual elements similar to those found in romance and dating sim games. In particular, users of dating apps are initially given a thumbnail profile that nominally represents another user, but which in practice could be a fictional product. Moreover, even after users initiate preliminary contact via a text-based messaging service, they have no guarantee that their interlocutors are who they say they are. In addition to instances in which users fib about their appearance, background, interests, and objectives, there have even been cases in which users turn out not to be human at all.

For instance, when the dating website Ashley Madison was launched in 2001, it was advertised as a discreet service for people interested in pursuing extramarital affairs, but after the site was hacked in 2015, an analysis by Annalee Newitz (2015) of the resulting data for the website Gizmodo revealed that a majority of the site's nominally female users were actually automated bots designed to make the site's male clientele believe that they are interacting with actual women. As Newitz points out, the site's internal coding divides users into six different categories:

  1. 1:Attached Female Seeking Males
  2. 2:Attached Male Seeking Females
  3. 3:Single Male Seeking Attached Females
  4. 4:Single Female Seeking Attached Males
  5. 5:Attached Male Seeking Males
  6. 6:Attached Female Seeking Females

Given that the site's aggressive bot protocol only targets heterosexual men, this means that other users are free to use the site relatively unhindered. As a result, the site's structural emphasis on heterosexual men effectively opens up a productive space for users with other genders or sexual orientations to meet and interact. As Newitz (2015) concludes: “It's possible … that Ashley Madison was actually a pretty decent hookup site for gay people—but that was mostly because the system was designed to ignore them.”

By a similar logic, precisely because contemporary romance video games primarily target heterosexual men, they simultaneously offer a space for a productive exploration of other gender positionalities and sexual orientations. For instance, one of the earliest and most influential categories of romance games is the bishōjo 美少女 (“pretty girl”) genre that emerged in Japan in the early 1980s, which typically featured a male protagonist pursuing and seducing a variety of attractive young women. In the mid-1990s, meanwhile, there emerged a variant known as the otome 乙女 (literally “maiden”) genre, in which the protagonist is instead gendered as female and pursues attractive male partners (Kim 2009). Moreover, while at first otome games primarily targeted young female readers, over time the genre also began to target more mature women, even as the medium also began to be adapted by other cultures outside of Japan. For instance, a recent variant on the otome genre is the 2017 Chinese game Love and Producer (Lian yu zhizuoren 戀與制作人, also translated as Evol LoveR).2 Produced by the Suzhou-based internet game company Paper Games (叠纸游戏), which specializes in digital games for women, Love and Producer features a protagonist who is attempting to revive her late father's reality television show about humans with special powers, known as Evols (zhizuoren 制作人). In addition to her professional responsibilities, the protagonist also interacts with four men who are all Evols in their own right—including a rich CEO, a “genius scientist,” a “special policeman,” and a pop star (Figure 1). The game's players adopt the protagonist as their avatar and attempt to develop a romantic relationship with one or more of these suitors. Players communicate and interact with the suitors (within the game's virtual space), also accumulating “cards” that permit them to advance to the next level. Immensely popular, Love and Producer earned about 20 million yuan ($3.1 million) on its highest-grossing day shortly after its initial launch in China in December of 2017 (the basic game can be downloaded for free, but users have the option of purchasing cards that would permit them to advance to higher levels) (Gamelook 2018). A Taiwanese version of the game was released a year later, in December of 2018, followed by a British version in March of 2019 and a Japanese version in July of 2019.3

Figure 1:
Figure 1:

Screen grab from Love and Producer (Suzhou: Paper Games, 2017).

Citation: Screen Bodies 5, 2; 10.3167/screen.2020.050208

The extraordinary appeal of the Chinese-language version of Love and Producer can be attributed to several factors. First, at a time when Chinese women (and particularly educated, professional women) are facing increasing pressure to marry and have children (Fincher 2016), Love and Producer offers them a fantasy space where romance can be delinked from matrimony, and need not even be monogamous. Also, women who already have partners may still derive pleasure from imagining themselves to be the objects of highly attentive male suitors. Finally, Love and Producer is notable for its attempts to blur the boundaries between reality and simulation. For instance, players can purchase a package allowing them to receive electronic messages and telephone calls from the fictional suitors—with the latter being recorded messages with pauses built in so that the recipient can respond to the suitor's questions and comments. Similarly, there was an incident in January 2018 in which someone rented a giant electronic billboard on the side of a building in downtown Shenzhen, with a message ostensibly directed to one of the game's four male suitors, which read (in Chinese): “Happy birthday, Li Zeyan! We bought this with your black card, so don't be surprised!” (Feng 2018). The advertisement had ostensibly been purchased by a group of Li Zeyan's female fans (i.e., women who played the game in real life), but of course it is perhaps more likely to have been purchased by the company itself as a form of guerilla marketing (Chenyu 2018).

Although Love and Producer's use of boundary-crossing elements such as bedtime phone calls and guerilla advertising might appear to be mere gimmicks, they actually mark a critical aspect of the game's appeal. That is to say, a key factor in the success of Love and Producer lies in its ability to combine globally recognizable elements with more localized ones, and just as these interactive elements help embed the game within the user's actual life, they similarly help to embed the user within a fantasy space inspired by the game itself.

Queer Interventions

While queer variations of romance games are significantly less common than heteronormative ones, particularly within a Sinitic context, some examples have begun to emerge. For instance, on 4 May 2018, a Beijing-based game developer named Harry Huang (黄乐高) released a visual novel titled A Gay's Life, which revolves around a young gay Chinese man attempting to come to terms with his sexuality.4 The game was inspired by another game called Florence, which was marketed as “an interactive story about love and life.”5 Developed by the Australia-based and ethnically Chinese game developer Ken Wong, Florence is an English-language narrative-based game that features a female protagonist in her mid-twenties, Florence Yeoh, who is single and stuck in what she perceives to be an unfulfilling job. One day on her way to work, however, she hears a cellist playing in the street, and proceeds to befriend and become romantically involved with him. The musician moves in with Florence, and she encourages him to develop his career, but eventually they drift apart and the cellist moves out, after which Florence decides to quit her job and pursue her own dream of becoming an artist. Although the primary focus of the game is on Florence's love life and personal development, it is not incidental that she is presented as being Chinese-Australian (like Ken Wong, the game's developer), and that her romantic interest is Indian-Australian6 (Figure 2). In A Gay's Life, meanwhile, Harry Huang transposes Wong's game from English into Chinese, and simultaneously replaces the heterosexual female protagonist with a gay man. The game follows the protagonist, Ling Hao, over a span of several decades from childhood to adulthood. In particular, as a teenager Ling Hao begins to realize that he is attracted to men. As Ling Hao struggles to come to terms with his sexuality, he must figure out how to address it in relation to his family, his peers, his school, and his employers. In designing the game, the developer Harry Huang drew on his own experience as a gay man in China (Huang 2018).

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Screen grab from Florence (Annapurna Games, 2018).

Citation: Screen Bodies 5, 2; 10.3167/screen.2020.050208

Like Florence, A Gay's Life is structured as a visual novel, offering users a series of images accompanied by short chunks of text with voice-over dialogue. The game is free, and can be played directly through a web-based application. At various points throughout the game, users are offered choices that open up different narrative lines. While some of the scenarios involve romantic interactions, others feature a set of discussions about sexuality between Ling Hao and his friends, family, and others. For instance, Ling Hao has conversations with his family about his life choices, in which he has to decide whether or not to tell them that he is gay. Later, there is one narrative thread in which Ling Hao visits a therapist, who offers him advice on how to understand his sexual orientation. In another narrative thread, one of Ling Hao's college classmates tells him she finds him attractive and would like to date him, and he has to decide whether or not to reveal to her that he is gay. In another, Ling Hao meets another young man who expresses interest in him, and Ling Hao is given the option of whether or not to reciprocate. If Ling Hao chooses to accept the other young man's offer of friendship, they begin spending more and more time together, and eventually begin sleeping together, with the other young man teaching Ling Hao how to use a condom and practice safe sex. One day, however, Ling Hao sees the other young man with someone whom Ling Hao assumes to be a new boyfriend. Ling Hao feels betrayed, but his partner argues that they had never specified that they had an exclusive relationship, and Ling Hao is then given the option of how to respond to this development.

A Gay's Life features hand-drawn images and only basic animation (Figures 3 and 4). The result is that the emphasis is not on the visual pleasure generated by the images, but rather on the underlying narrative. Moreover, an important element of the game is that, in making decisions at each of the narrative forks, the player accrues or loses “self-acceptance” (ziwo rentong 自我認同) points, which function as a feedback mechanism reflecting the progressiveness of the player's/protagonist's various life choices. To the extent that the game's interactive structure permits users to intervene in the fictional Ling Hao's life, the “self-acceptance” score underscores the degree to which the game seeks to intervene in the users’ own lives by encouraging them to adopt more positive attitudes toward (their own) sexuality.

Image 3.
Image 3.

Screen grab from A Gay's Life (Chengguang youxi, 2019).

Citation: Screen Bodies 5, 2; 10.3167/screen.2020.050208

Image 4.
Image 4.

Screen grab from A Gay's Life (Chengguang youxi, 2019).

Citation: Screen Bodies 5, 2; 10.3167/screen.2020.050208

Another Chinese-language game that focuses on queer issues is the 2016 visual novel released under the Chinese title Jia you damao (家有大貓)—which could be translated as At Home, There Are Big Cats, but which the producers transliterate into the romanized Japanese phrase Nekojishi (which, in turn, could be translated into English as Cats and Cubs).7 The game is produced by a Taiwanese company called Team Nekojishi and has been released in a multilingual version that also includes English and Japanese translations. The game can be downloaded for free from the online game portal Steam, and while the standard version of the game is nominally intended for general audiences, more sexually explicit material can be found in supplemental chapters developed by fans and available via the game's Steam site.

The game's premise is that the protagonist, Lin Tian-Liao, is a college student in Taiwan, and one day he returns to his apartment and discovers a large anthropoid tiger called Lin Hu waiting for him. Lin Hu explains that he is Tian-Liao's family's guardian tiger, and that Tian-Liao inadvertently brought him to Taipei in the form of a small figurine. Soon, Lin Hu is joined by two other humanoid felines: a leopard that is an aboriginal spirit and speaks only limited Mandarin, and another guardian tiger, which is possessed the body of Tian-Liao's human clubmate in order to get close to him, leaving the tiger with a feline appearance but the build and physique of a high school student (Figure 5). Tian-Liao, who is gay, finds himself attracted to each of these three humanoid felines, but given that he is the only one who is able to perceive them, his relationship with them could be seen as an allegory for a state of being in the closet.

Figure 5.
Figure 5.

Screen grab from Nekojishi (Team Nekojishi, 2016).

Citation: Screen Bodies 5, 2; 10.3167/screen.2020.050208

From a queer perspective, the game's taxonomic status presents a bit of a conundrum. Some descriptions link the game to the “furry” fandom, while others refer to it as a BL work, though each of these terms carries very different implications with respect to the players’ presumed genders and sexual orientations.8 On one hand, the term “furry” (shoumi 獸迷) refers to a fandom that is organized around a fascination with anthropomorphic mammals, and although this fandom's members belong to a variety of different genders and sexual orientations, surveys suggest that they are predominantly male and that many self-identify as either gay or bisexual.9 On the other hand, the term “BL” is short for “Boys Love,” and is usually used to refer to a fandom consisting predominantly of straight women who create fictional content involving men (or masculine figures) in romantic or erotic relationships. The term was first popularized in relation to the Japanese genre of yaoi homoerotic fiction and art that emerged in the 1980s, but subsequently has also been used in relation to the parallel Chinese genre of danmei (耽美) fiction (Welker 2015; Yang and Xu 2017). The “furry” attribution, accordingly, suggests that the game is directed primarily toward men who are erotically interested in other men, while the “BL” attribution implies that it is instead directed primarily toward heterosexual women. Of course, neither of these categories is monolithic (the furry fandom, for instance, includes some heterosexual women, just as the BL fandom includes some gay men), but in general they would appear to imply very different orientations toward the work in question.

Similarly, Nekojishi also presents a challenge to taxonomic schemes based on culture or nationality. Although some aspects of Nekojishi are effectively transnational, other elements of the game are grounded in Taiwan's local conditions. For instance, the game makes frequent reference to Taiwan folk religion, and the narration is read in Taiwan-accented Mandarin. Perhaps the game's most interesting local element, however, is the leopard inhabited by an aboriginal spirit. Just as Love and Producer borrows a set of Japanese cultural elements and transposes them into an unspecified Chinese-language setting and A Gay's Life borrows a set of Sino-Australian sociocultural elements and transposes them into a specifically mainland Chinese context, Nekojishi, in turn, takes inspiration from a set of elements associated with the transnational furry community and embeds them within an explicitly Taiwanese sociocultural context. Moreover, foregrounding the aboriginal spirit character who speaks only limited Mandarin, Nekojishi underscores an element of internal alterity that is present within this Taiwanese sociocultural space itself. The game, in other words, effectively queers a standard view not only of “Chinese” society, but also of Sinocentric contemporary Taiwanese society.

More generally, in addition to complicating assumptions about cultural, ethnic, and national identity, Nekojishi simultaneously crosses a broader set of boundaries between the human and the nonhuman, the living and the nonliving. By presenting these fantastic permutations in a straightforward manner, the game establishes a fluid, nonnormative ground on which a set heteronormative and Sinocentric assumptions can be similarly interrogated. This is important because, as Yunying Huang remarks in an article for this special issue, to envision equitable futures—and to avoid reinforcing stereotypes—we need more pluralistic understandings of Chinese cultures.

On a technical level, meanwhile, Nekojishi, even compared to A Gay's Life, has a very simple technical platform. The game consists primarily of a series of static images and very basic animation, which is accompanied by sound effects and offscreen narration. There are a few places in the game where the player can choose how the narrative should proceed, but generally speaking the player's main contribution lies simply in toggling forward from one line of dialogue to the next. Whereas users have limited input into the game itself, the larger intertext within which the game is positioned allows a much wider degree of interaction. Not only does the game's Steam site have an active multilingual discussion board, it also has a Facebook page with over fourteen thousand followers. The Steam page contains hundreds of submissions addressing everything from technical issues to fan translations and issues of game content and various endings—it also permits users to share their translations or alternate versions of some of the game's own chapters. The website, meanwhile, features excerpts from some of Team Nekojishi's other games, as well as commercial features relating to the company's title game (such as an anniversary plush tiger doll). Although some of the interactions that are enabled on these community sites are of a technical or commercial nature, they nevertheless create a discursive space wherein queer identities and affiliations can be explored and developed.

Conclusion

Both A Gay's Life and Nekojishi address tensions that queer subjects may encounter within the context of a heteronormative culture. A Gay's Life revolves around a series of decisions the protagonist must make in deciding how and whether to reveal his sexuality to his family and friends, while Nekojishi is a story about a young gay man living with anthropomorphic felines that no one else can see. In their attention to the tensions that arise between the protagonist's sexuality and a broader set of social expectations, accordingly, these two games engage not only with Turing's hypothetical question of whether gender difference can be digitally simulated, but also a more concrete set of challenges that Turing faced with respect to his own sexuality. Turing was gay, but given that in Britain at the time homosexuality was punishable by law, it was therefore necessary for him to attempt to publicly pass as straight. This meant that, in effect, he had to live a real-life version of the first version of the imitation game he had proposed—attempting to conceal his sexual orientation and simulate a normative heterosexuality. In the end, however, this attempt was unsuccessful, and in 1952 he was convicted for committing homosexual acts. He ultimately accepted chemical castration in order to avoid prison time, but took his own life two years later in 1954. It was not until 2013 (long after Britain's antisodomy laws had been repealed) that Turing finally received a posthumous pardon from Queen Elizabeth II. In this way, the Queen's belated pardon validated the prophetic and anticipatory nature of Turing's work not only in the areas of computing and A.I., but also in his challenge of heteronormative assumptions about the ways that sexuality maps onto gender.

Notes

1

Katherine Hayles (1999) develops a similar point in the preface to her study. For a discussion of some of the implications of this issue for our understanding of contemporary queer Chinese culture, see Rojas (2020).

2

The game was released on 14 December 2017, and was downloaded more than three million times in the first month. See Chenyu (2018).

3

The British version of the game was released under the title Mr. Love: Queen's Choice. There is also a forthcoming Korean version.

4

Although A Gay's Life was produced in China and is entirely in Chinese, its title is only in English.

5

See the game's home page: http://florencegame.com. Although the game is not explicitly queer (Ken Wong, the developer, notes: “It felt like what I was most familiar with was straight relationships and I didn't really want to go into LGBT relationships without having that background myself, so that was the deciding point”), it does contain a gender-crossing element in that Wong attempted to write the game from the perspective of the female protagonist (“As a man, I think it's important for me to learn more about how women experience the world, so I think I wanted to take what I learned from the stories around me and some of the experiences of my producer, Kamina, my sister Emily and some of my previous partners and my friends, and put that into Florence”). See Conditt (2018), “‘Florence’ Turns Falling in Love into a Video Game,” Engadget Feb. 14, 2018. https://www.engadget.com/2018/02/14/florence-game-ios-love-ken-wong-interview-mobile/

6

Ken Wong notes: “I live here in Melbourne now and I grew up in Adelaide, and my friends all looked different. They all had different skin colors and came from different backgrounds, and I don't know if that story of Australia is often portrayed to the world.” See Conditt (2018).

7

Although this game was developed in Taiwan and was initially released in a Chinese-language version, its Taiwanese developer uses the Japanese romanization Nekojishi for the name of both the company as well as of the game itself. This romanized name is derived from a Japanese word play involving the kanji string “子子子子子子子子子子子子” Because in Japanese the kanji 子 can, under different circumstances, be read either as “ne,” “ko,” “ji,” or, “shi,” in theory the kanji string in question could therefore be pronounced as “neko no ko koneko, shishi no ko kojishi”—which corresponds to the Japanese sentence “猫の子子猫、獅子の子子獅子” and which could be translated into English as “The offspring of cats are called kittens, and the offspring of lions are called cubs.” See the following discussion board exchange with someone who appears to be a company representative: https://www.flyingv.cc/projects/13155/comments.

8

For instance, one “curator review” on the game's Steam site positions the game in relation to the furry fandom, remarking: “At the very least, based on the main melody alone, this game should not be free. It takes the form of a free visual novel. We don't need to discuss the plot in detail. As a ‘furry’ indie game, every aspect of the game is exemplary, while also having a general sense of humor” (https://store.steampowered.com/app/570840/_Nekojishi/?curator_clanid = 30386324). Another curator review, however, characterizes the game as a “BL-type novel”: “Have you been looking for a BL-type novel? Do you also hope that it will feature cat-eared big hunks “wrestling” one another? Don't worry, Nekojishi is your best choice!” (你/妳是不是一直在尋找BL類型小說呢? 又希望是有個貓耳的大帥哥們互相”摔角呢?” 別擔心,[家有大貓 Nekojishi]是你的最佳之選!) (https://store.steampowered.com/app/570840/_Nekojishi/?l=tchinese&curator_clanid=4134354).

9

See, for instance, the following self-description of a furry fandom website: “More than 75% of furries are under the age of 25. Approximately 84% of furries identify as male, 13% female, and 2.5% are transgender. Furries are predominantly (83.2%) white. Approximately one-third identify as exclusively heterosexual; furries are about five times more likely to identify as exclusively homosexual than the general population” (https://furscience.com/whats-a-furry/).

Gameography

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  • Yang, Ling, and Yanrui Xu. 2017. “Chinese Danmei Fandom and Cultural Globalization from Below.” In Boys’ Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Queer Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, ed. Jing Jamie Zhao, Ling Yang, and Maud Lavin, 319. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

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Contributor Notes

Carlos Rojas is Professor of Cultural Studies, Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, and Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University. He is the author, editor, and translator of numerous works, including Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation in Modern China. Email: c.rojas@duke.edu

Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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