Jack WarrenManchester Metropolitan University
Mancunian Drag Queen and glamorous alien woman, Juno Birch, crash landed on Earth in 1962 and has recently taken to making videos of playing The Sims (Maxis). Juno Birch’s aesthetic is indelibly camp, which remains when she is playing video games. This paper holds that the way Juno Birch plays games is camp and aims to understand the specific affordances of her play that perpetuates her camp mode. Camp, like queer, is often understood as evanescent, that in scholarly attempts to define will, at once, shift its meaning. However, it is still generally accepted that camp is an aesthetic of extravagance, excess, and lack of seriousness.
With the emergence of queer theory, camp is also recognised to thrive on incongruity; it is a subversive strategy that enacts “the refusal of the queer to be symbolically annihilated or to be subordinated to heteronorms” (Padva 222). This paper examines the incongruity of Juno Birch’s videos and playstyle compared to more normative gamers. In doing so, this paper highlights how a camp mode may be brokered between player and game, proposing that a camp sensibility may shape gameplay, while games themselves ruminate camp when viewed with a queer lens.
Jack Warren is a postgraduate researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University, a member of the Manchester Games Research Network, and an organiser of the Queer Research Network Manchester. Jack completed his MA in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture at The University of Manchester and now researches games, role-playing, and queer theory.