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Tobi Smethurst


Tobi Smethurst is a visiting professor of English literature at Ghent University. She holds degrees from Ghent University (PhD in Literary Studies) and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (BA in English Literature; MA in Literary Studies). Her PhD thesis, “Playing with Trauma in Video Games: Interreactivity, Empathy, Perpetration,” investigates the under-theorized potential of video games to represent psychological trauma in ways that “traditional” trauma-fiction media such as novels, films, or autobiographies cannot. It argues that, because of the inter(re)activity which is unique to the video game medium, games are able to present a variety of ways of making the player identify and/or empathize with protagonists and, through them, to virtually experience traumatized perspectives or perpetrate traumatizing acts. The thesis conducts a series of close readings of games (The Walking DeadLimboSpec Ops: The Line, and others) that integrate trauma aesthetically and mechanically; that is, both visually/sonically/thematically and on the level of the rules which govern the experience of actually playing and progressing through the game.


Department of Literary Studies / Room 130.014567963_551894968345195_843873570300076675_n
Ghent University
Blandijnberg 2
9000 Gent
Tel.: +32 (0)9 ‪264 36 55
Mobile: +32 (0)491 73 53 34
Fax: +32 (0)9 264 41 79