At the Intersection of Difficulty and Masculinity: Crafting the Play Ethic

  • Nicholas A. Hanford
Part of the Palgrave Games in Context book series (PAGCON)


Punishment is an important force within video games that influences the specific actions players perform. This chapter builds on Jesper Juul’s categorization of the mechanical punishments games offer to discuss the ways games have enforced particular kinds of masculinity that revolve around the effort and work of play needed to gain the social capital of a proper “gamer.” Theorizing these gender offense punishments and how they have emerged in games thus far, I discuss how these interact with the challenges games offer in order to craft a particular play ethic. Lastly, this chapter investigates how scholars can use lower difficulty levels to understand the effects of difficulty and challenge in the creation and subversion of gamic meanings.


Masculinity Punishment Interfaces 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas A. Hanford
    • 1
  1. 1.Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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