Game Comparison

Due: 11/8

Length: 4-5 pages

Cathy Caruth was one of the key theorists of trauma in the 1990s. Nasrullah Hambral provides this overview of her work in the field:

"In the traditional trauma model pioneered by Cathy Caruth, trauma is viewed as an event that fragments consciousness and prevents direct linguistic representation. The model draws attention to the severity of suffering by suggesting the traumatic experience irrevocably damages the psyche. Trauma is an unassimilated event that shatters identity and remains outside normal memory and narrative representation. Fragmentation or dissociation is viewed as the direct cause of trauma, a view that helps formulate the notion of transhistorical trauma, which suggests that trauma’s essential or universal effects on consciousness and narrative recall afford the opportunity to connect individual and collective traumatic experiences."

All of the games we have played this semester have dealt with characters who are undergoing or processing trauma. Thinking about the quote above and the discussions we've had about these games, choose two of these games and analyze how they represent trauma (and/or healing).

Edited to add:


This is a comparison essay, where you are looking at two games next to each other in order to better understand what each is doing. I recommend that you write your essay in a 3-part structure:

  • Compare (and contrast) the two games around one theme or idea (e.g., fragmentation)
  • Compare (and contrast) the two games around a second theme or idea (e.g., no direct linguistic communication or how memory works in these games)
  • The first sentence of the final section should be your thesis sentence, which will pull together something you have learned from discussion of the previous two ideas and develop a slightly broader statement about what you have observed in these games.

Do not write a five-paragraph essay!


Assume an audience who is familiar with the games, but like you before you started working on this paper, maybe hasn't played them in a few weeks. So you do not need to summarize important information about the game for your reader unless it's important to your argument, but when you explain something that's central to your argument, you should give very brief contextual clues to remind your reader what you're talking about.

In fact, for your audience you should imagine that you're writing for your peers in this class. Assume that you are just a little bit smarter than everyone else in the class, that you understand the two games you are analyzing a little bit better than anyone else in the class, so you are helping them to understand how the two games you're analyzing portray or analyze trauma and/or recovery from trauma.


Your essay should be published as a page. You'll need to then write a reflection post that links to the page in order to turn it in.


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