Chicago, IL August 8, 2015
The Inspirationally Disadvantaged and other Tropes in Gaming
Across all forms of media, there exist plenty of tropes about people with illness. Illness, in this case, encompasses people suffering from short-term or chronic mental or physical conditions, and there exists a plethora of well-known tropes that characters and scenarios in gaming often fit into. What are some of these tropes, and how can we spot them in the media we consume? How do they affect our perception of people with disabilities and mental illnesses? Does media portrayal of ill people as stereotypes in genre works still count as representation? And with all of this in mind, how can we be more conscientious of the way that we represent people affected by illness within our own work? From Mass Effect to Guild Wars 2 and Grand Theft Auto V, video games have often explored the realm of characters with illness and disability. What defines "good" representation for a character, and which characters hit the mark? On the other hand, when is representation of a character's disability less than ideal or outwardly offensive? Do video games fall into the same pitfalls as other genres when it comes to representing disabled people? And if so, what can we as critically engaged fans of media do about it?