ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the power of story in our society and argues that while pop culture often functions to distract and pacify the public, we can potentially use media to address pressing political issues and build a stronger society. The first section integrates concepts from scholars like Marshall McLuhan, Chimamanda Adichie, Aristotle, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno. It draws upon examples from culture, such as the work of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the political performances of the punk-rock group Pussy Riot, and the silent films of Soviet filmmakers like Sergei Eisenstein. The second section uses these critical theoretical concepts in an analysis of indie videogames produced by LGBTQIA+ developers, specifically in the use of queer experiences, perspectives, and aesthetics to challenge misogyny and heteronormativity within the gaming industry and culture. The third section introduces an activity called Radical Games in which participants critically engage with games—and the world around them—through a process of inquiry, creativity, and play. The activity involves designing a social issue-oriented game and encourages participants to understand play as an approach to critical inquiry and games as a potential site for positive social change.