Falling in Love With Virtual Boyfriends: Otome Games in Japan and Mainland China
My thesis focuses on the popularity of otome games in Japan and mainland China. During the time of COVID-19, people have to stay at home and be isolated from their families and friends. Thus, playing video games, individually or collectively, has become a way to relax and socialize. I noticed that information about different otome games can be easily seen online, and some players have spent a great amount of money on them. As a female in my twenties, I myself am a target player of this game genre. Thus, I became interested in the popularity of this genre of game.My thesis has two chapters. After the Introduction, Chapter 1 discusses otome games from the cultural perspective, and I argue that this game genre today is popular in both locations after it is introduced from Japan to mainland China in the early 2000s. Furthermore, I explore otome game’s “queer potential” to suggest that the game goes beyond its intended player demographics, young heteronormative women. Chapter 2 analyzes the sociological implications beyond gameplay itself and onto the social relationship fostered by otome game culture. I argue that, as one of the manifestations of the popularity of this game genre, otome dream has been brought from the virtual world to the real world, but this digital intimacy has caused certain problems that may limit otome games’ possibilities to be enjoyed and further developed.
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