Interactive Emotions: Empathy in the Bioshock Series

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Zac Hegwood, Student (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Amanda Wray

Abstract: Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry, embraced by a large majority of U.S. households. People of all ages and from all backgrounds participate in the stories and experiences offered by these games. Unfortunately, most ofthe research done on videogames considers them only from a technical aspect: how they assist in cognitive abilities (see Oei and Patterson, 2013) or how they make us violent or cooperative (see Saleem, Anderson, and Gentile, 2012). Both of these research foci underestimate video games as an interactive form of storytelling. Myundergraduate research project attempts to address this gap by studying video games as a medium of literature that creates an emotive experience for the user through interactive storytelling. Building upon interviews conducted at the Escapist Expo in Durham, NC, and current game theory scholarship, this paper deconstructs the use of emotion within the critically-acclaimed 2013 video game “Bioshock: Infinite,” and the entire Bioshock series. In particular, Ianalyze how the games’ interactive/empathetic components force players to question our conceptualizations of the culturally relevant themes of religion, race, and social class.

Additional Information

UNC Asheville - Journal of Undergraduate Research
Language: English
Date: 2013
game theory, video games, emotional responses

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