Chess, Shira. (2017). Kim Kardashian is my New BFF: The Work/Play of Celebrity Gaming. Paper to be presented at the International Communication Association (ICA) annual conference, San Diego, May 2017.
Abstract: Recently, there has been a growing number of celebrity-focused video games. These games have functioned as promotional tools for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Brittany Spears, Katy Perry, Jason Stratham, Lindsay Lohan, and Shakira. Celebrity games typically empower players to perform the work of aspirational fame, while promoting the title character and their branded products. Games in this genre typically construct narratives where the player is doing the presumed work of the celebrity, while simultaneously promoting that celebrity back to themselves as consumers. In this way, the player’s labor mimic’s the celebrity’s labor both in the game (through game play) and outside of the game (through doing the promotional work on their behalf). At the same time, the affective labor and empathizing done through the game’s labor forces a unique relationship between the celebrity and the player, not seen in other kinds of celebrity media.