Arwen Paredes

2024 Oral/Performing Arts Symposium Winner

2nd Place: Music, Art, Literature, Theater, History & Philosophy I Category

“Something to Care For”: Empathetic Gameplay and Representations of Trauma in Baldur’s Gate 3

Faculty Mentor(s): Prof. Timothy Miller

Arwen Paredes, on their experience in the English Honors Program:

Through the English Honors Research program, I was able to foster lifelong connections with my peers and mentors who have acted as unwavering sources of support throughout the thesis project process. I have learned so much about myself and my research interests over the past two semesters, and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have explored them in such depth among the company of other impassioned writers. I am proud to have challenged myself as a student and researcher to discover that I am more capable than I first thought. This experience has inspired and motivated me to take on larger academic goals and apply myself further as a writer with important things to say.

Abstract: Online gaming communities are often thought to be spaces of toxicity, discrimination, and harassment due to the anonymity and depersonalization that the internet provides. However, RPGs (role-playing games) have evolved over time to center humanization and prioritize moral elements in the game design process. Similarly, engagement in TTRPGS (table-top roleplaying games) like Dungeons & Dragons has been shown to have potential applications in teaching morals and promoting community-building. This project provides a textual and ludonarrative analysis of Baldur’s Gate 3 to demonstrate how elements from TTRPG tradition can be applied to a digital environment to effectively incentivize empathetic gameplay and reduce moral disengagement in online spaces. It studies the intersections of player responsibility, affective materiality, and representations of trauma within the game, along with its psychological impact on players and the establishment of parasocial relationships.

Arwen Paredes 2024

Arwen Paredes (they/them) is an FAU undergraduate student and FAU High graduate currently dual majoring in English and Multimedia Studies (Film, Video, and New Media). They are an avid player of Dungeons & Dragons with aspirations of writing for film, TV, and video games and research interests in eco-lit, sci-fi/fantasy, ludonarrativity and affect.