Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Jie Guo

Second Reader

Dr. Elaine Chun


This thesis is an analysis of the video games Life is Strange and Before the Storm and how they serve to reflect social expectations and norms placed upon both women and men even today. Cultural studies recently accepted video games as a form of media to study, especially with the prevalence and accessibility of video games in various platforms. Violence in video games is culturally associated with men and the male audience; my analysis focuses on violence in the hands of women. By analyzing the choices I made as a player and how these games present their narratives and characters, I conclude that these video games, which are thus a reflection of society, still hold both women and men to a traditionalist standard. Prominent female characters in these games use violence to protect and as a last resort while prominent male characters are already violent, aggressive, and antagonistic. Violence and how these characters choose to use it are gendered. While the strides made in the name of female empowerment and feminism are not to be ignored, cultural products still work to promote mainstream values.

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