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Ability, Disability and Dead Space

Carr, Diane (2014) Ability, Disability and Dead Space. Game Studies. (In Press)

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This paper focuses on representations of able bodies and disability within Dead Space. The method used is textual analysis. The inquiry is shaped by two essays in particular: Williams’s screen studies account of ‘body genres’ (1999) and Snyder and Mitchell’s disability studies extension of Williams’s work (2006). In her essay, Williams describes the pleasurably excessive and spectacular aspects of body genres. Three instances of ‘excess’ in Dead Space are used to structure the analysis. These are (1) the abject bodies of the game’s undead monsters, (2) the colourful nature of the protagonist’s deaths and the uncertainty of his existence, and (3) the extravagant amount of gore and blood on offer. Through textual analysis, it is found that Dead Space represents the idea of disability as threatening, and able-bodied identity as conditional and precarious. Locales that are culturally associated with positivism and corporeal assessment (clinical and medical facilities) are tainted; contaminated by the intrusions of uncontrolled, excessive and abject bodies. It is argued that these aspects of the game contribute to the generation of sensations associated with generic horror, including fear, anxiety and dread. At the same time, the game offers players the opportunity to display attributes that are culturally associated with able bodied status, including accuracy, precision and control.

Item Type: Article
Controlled Keywords: Representation, ability, disability, horror, abjection, excess, bodies, the clinic
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2014 14:02
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 09:15
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