Toby Smethurst and Stef Craps
Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media 10.3 (2015): 269-90.
Publication year: 2015

Just as books and films about traumatic events have become part of Western popular culture, so the theme of trauma and its accompanying tropes have been seeping into video games over the last two decades. In spite of the discernible trauma trend within video games, however, and the potential they exhibit for representing trauma in new ways, they have received very little critical notice from trauma theorists. In this article, we argue that a trauma-theoretical study of games has much to offer our understanding of the ways that trauma can be represented, in addition to giving game studies scholars further insight into how games manage to elicit such strong emotions and difficult ethical quandaries in players. We demonstrate this by performing a close reading of one recent and much-discussed game, The Walking Dead: Season One, analyzing how it incorporates psychological trauma in terms of inter(re)activity, empathy, and complicity.