Crusades and Jihad: An Examination of Muslim Representation in Computer Stratety Games

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Cox, Richard
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
This thesis examines a sample of Western video-games in the strategy genre for stereotypical depictions of Muslims and Islam through both portrayals of appearance and through game mechanics. Video-games, although often dismissed as being trivial in the realm of academia, can carry just as much weight and meaning as any other medium, and there is no exception in the case of presenting and reinforcing stereotypes. While some research has been done on Islamophobic stereotypes in video-games, relatively little attention has been paid to the strategy genre. Stereotypes such as the “scimitar wielding warrior” or the “Sultan’s decadent harem” crop up in many strategy games. These stereotypes can be harmful or dangerous to Muslim minorities, and thus their inclusion in these strategy games is deserving of research. By performing a singleplayer content analysis of fourteen (14) strategy games, this thesis examines the frequency and nature of these stereotypes in depth.
video game studies, stereotyping, Islamic representation, media studies, strategy games, Islamophobia