“Will I ever be happy [, Victorine]?”: Gender normativity challenges in Behind Every Great One

This article will analyze Behind Every Great One in order to argue that this game not only tackles normative gender roles and pressure from a narrative viewpoint, but also from a mechanical point of view, which, added to the very nature of the video game, establish a link with the player that allows for a deeper connection between character and avatar. This, in turn, affects the way in which the narrative develops.

This approximately 30-minute long video game by the Spanish team Deconstructeam gives a twist to chore-based video games (like, for instance, The Sims saga) by putting players in control of Victorine, a housewife married to Gabriel, an artist. The game, thus, explicitly puts the focus on a cis-heterosexual couple with traditional gender roles, and challenges them almost from the beginning.

To do so, first, this article will explore the notion of agency and limited freedom within the video game. While agency can be arguably attributed to any cultural production that an audience follows, reads, or watch, this article will investigate extranoematic agency, that is, the non-mechanical, text-altering efforts that players can do within the confines of their limited freedom.

The second issue that this article will investigate is what researchers have called queergaming and how it applies to the narrative of Behind Every Great One. What this article will aim to argue is that, although there are multiple ways to get to the ending of the video game, they all lead to the same, as will be argued, sad (or, in video game terms, “bad”) ending. In that sense, the philosophy of queergaming may apply to the way the narrative is constructed. In other words, the game is constructed to make players unable to fulfill all the tasks that are required and subverts the notion of achievement in a normative way.

Finally, the third issue that the article will explore is the notion of gender and gender roles within the narrative and explore how these appear related to the other two axes upon which the article is founded. The game attempts to establish empathic links between the player and the characters through a series of mechanics that are essential to the notion of video game, and, in so doing, engages in a debate with the player in which gender roles and normativity are key terms to explore, subvert, and diagnose.

In short, what this article argues is that Behind Every Great One explores gender and their role in society by attempting to make players reflect upon the emotional side of the equation. As such, this video game aims to make players connect with their avatar, and, as a consequence, think about the game as a mirror in which Western society reflects.

Palabras clave

Behind Every Great One deconstructeam Gender Queergaming Video Games

Ponencia Online

Documentación de apoyo a la presentación ONLINE de la ponencia

Ver el video en youtube


Los autores de la ponencia

profile avatar

Jaime Oliveros García

Ver Perfil

Preguntas y comentarios al autor/es

Hay 4 comentarios en esta ponencia

    • profile avatar

      Melanie Melo Cassiano Corrêa

      Comentó el 21/05/2021 a las 02:06:25

      Hi, first of all, congratulations for the papper, it was very interesting to know the narrative behind this video game. I just had a question about the methodology used to answer the questions proposed, can you tell us a little bit more about it? Thanks


      • profile avatar

        Jaime Oliveros García

        Comentó el 21/05/2021 a las 11:23:51

        Hello, Melanie.

        Thanks for your question. The methodology that has been used includes the review of key terms (gender oppression, directed freedom, game design, avatarization, and so on), and then apply them to the video game.

        Hope this has answered your question,


    • profile avatar

      Nuria Sánchez-Gey Valenzuela

      Comentó el 20/05/2021 a las 09:10:04

      Your research is very interesting. I wanted to ask you about the importance of the creation of roles that video games have and if the little control and ignorance sometimes by educators of those who use their children is not causing a fundamental part of the game to be left in the hands of companies. education of our young people, perhaps without being aware of it. Thanks.


      • profile avatar

        Jaime Oliveros García

        Comentó el 20/05/2021 a las 11:04:14

        Hello, Nuria.

        Thanks for your question. The role of video games and education is a bit controversial insofar as many parents and educators leave children alone, letting them play whichever they feel like. It is similar, in that sense, to the people that leave their children watching any movie they want, or reading any book they want. Fortunately, educators have a guide called Pan European Game Information (PEGI) that allows educators and parents to know whether a game is suitable for a particular age (much like the Motion picture content rating system).

        As for the part of companies, I think that it is important to explore videogames from independent companies (as is the case here) rather than more mainstream ones, at least in my case, since they sometimes offer alternative insights that the mainstream media usually hides.

        Hope I have answered your question!


Deja tu comentario

Lo siento, debes estar conectado para publicar un comentario.