Welcome to Anima!
Updated: Mar 3, 2022
Anima is a blog dedicated to exploring how animals are represented and treated in the digital world of video games.
Animals, derived from the latin word animalis meaning 'having breath' or 'having soul', have always been the soul of video games from iconic characters such as Donkey Kong and Sonic the Hedgehog to filling many contemporary open world games and being the inspiration for worlds such as those found in Tokyo Jungle and Undertale.
However, representation of animals in games have often reflected real life practices, with the majority being little more than fodder designed to enable crafting of resources and provide the player with consumable items and cooking ingredients. They are also commonly represented as beings who do not inhabit their own environments nor have a will of their own but simply exist to be cute and likeable to human characters and the player. If games excel at being able to model human ideology and forms of hierarchy, as put forward by game theorist Ian Bogost, then the world of animals in video games is one is deserving of a much deeper exploration that can reveal much about who we are and how we see ourselves.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ― Mahatma Gandhi
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Roko Zaper and I am a researcher and game designer based in Sydney, Australia, currently undergoing a PhD at the University of New South Wales. My main area of interest is how video games can be designed to reflect less anthropocentric relations with animals and environments.