No, Really, It's OK: Exploring Trauma and Healing Through Video Game Creation

Dodd, Michaela
Nakarada-Kordic, Ivana
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Master of Design
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Auckland University of Technology

The following exegesis is an autoethnographic enquiry into designing video games to reflect on personal trauma. Using the context of video game culture and design, I explore the capability that video games hold for expressing stories. Supplemented by the observation of healing benefits in autobiographical writing, I begin to investigate the possibility of a union between video games and autobiography. The practical components of my research are concerned with uniting these elements and how the process of combining them leads to personal insight.

My research approach uses poetry, audio posts and artwork as my mode of autoethnographic exploration. As such, the writing style of this thesis, while formal, will not be able to avoid embellishments of who I am, what I have experienced, and what I choose to create as a result.

Design research offers me a critical framework to investigate the healing benefits of telling one’s story. This investigation intends to highlight to peers, young women and creatives alike that this work of research stands in solidarity against often unspoken traumas. I target this demographic as I explore with an autoethnographic lens. This exploration intends to bring awareness to the nuances of female-specific trauma and validate what may seem to be an unusual choice of using video games as an impetus for conversations about trauma.

Video games , Trauma , CBT , PSTD
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