“It’s just a game”: Toxic Triggers in the Competitive FPS Valorant

David Vuong, Emma Tosaya, Jane Heathcote, Kai Garcia

If you have ever played an online game, of any variety, chances are you have run into a toxic player or two. Online gaming has a long, deep rooted history of toxicity, often attributed to many games’ violent or competitive natures. However, toxicity can stem from a variety of sources, from racism to sexism to even a player’s enjoyment of toxic environments. This article aims to find the link between toxic nature and the online first-person shooter (FPS) Valorant. From the moment it was announced, Valorant was one of the most anticipated game releases of 2020. With its release coinciding with the COVID-19 quarantine, its popularity received a drastic boost, giving it a uniquely diverse player base – including a rising number of female FPS players. Focusing specifically on female-received toxicity, randomly selected interactions between players will be analyzed based on word choice and context to study in-game triggers for toxicity.

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“Pussy!”: Gendered Insults While Video Gaming

Nisha Porchezhiyan

The present article is a research study about the use of gendered insults while playing Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart. This study consisted of three players, one female and two male playing both of the games and analyzing their conversations to see which gender used “pussy” as an insult more often and what types of triggers each gender had for the word. This paper argues that men use the word “pussy” as an insult more than women while playing video games, typically as either retaliation for when their character gets hit in the game or as a generic insult that is not caused by any action in the game. On the contrary, women typically use “pussy” as an insult only when another player calls them that insult. The results of the study support the thesis and the results align with the conclusions of previous researchers. The data collected implies that the high male frequency of “pussy” might reinforce gender stereotypes where women are seen as weaker than men, because they use female genitalia as an insult for being weaker.

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