I am talking about disabilities. In a game franchise that is centered around simulated living, the creation of a universe intended to mimic the real world in which players can be and do and create whatever they wish, the utter lack of disabilities seems at best odd and at worst a willful neglect of a community that already sees a lack of representation in modern media. One in four adults live with a disability in the United States – 61 million people (CDC, 2018). The Sims has never been more inclusive to its player-base; this is why the exclusion of a major population seems so abrasive. Continue Reading
Rebeccah Redden is a Kitchener-based filmmaker, writer, and science fiction nerd. She spends most of her day living with mental illness and helping kids do 3D printing and virtual reality. She enjoys having an opinion on everything and reminiscing about… Continue Reading
Video games, like any other cultural product, reflect the cultural values that influence their creation; these values then influence perceptions on what is normal and acceptable in a social context (Flanagan and Nissenbaum 2014). Mass media shapes the perceptions of disability by influencing the language used to talk about disabilities, including what is (or -perhaps more significantly-, what is not) covered by news outlets and other mass media (Haller 2010). The invisibility of those with disabilities continues to be normalized when they are left out of media such as video games. Continue Reading
Content Notification: reference to self-harm
The first time I saw Poison Ivy, I fell in love with her. But I didn’t get to play Ivy. I had to play Batman. And Batman punished Ivy for being a Mad queer femme. He played the role of the legal system, and the legal system punishes people like her, like me. The logic of the game was patriarchal, sanist, ableist. The game made me hurt us.
My commentary takes up the relationship between transhumanism and gaming in Human Revolution. I discuss narrative support for and against transhumanism, and argue that theories of posthumanism offer another area of inquiry with respect to embodiment. I suggest that as the game explores how technology changes our understanding of human ability, it also points toward how disability does not consist of a set of deficiencies, but is instead shaped by environments. Finally, I contend that the game’s inaccessibility is instructive for considering its imbrication in a culture of difficulty that valorizes overcoming the body. Continue Reading