Madness Effect: Audiating Mental Instability

Stephen Tatlow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In Bioware's Mass Effect franchise, the effects of war cause characters to develop poor mental health. Characters begin to hallucinate visually and audially, become obsessional, suicidal, experience nightmares and poor sleep, or express other symptoms of poor mental health. Some of these symptoms are the result of “indoctrination” by the antagonists of the game, whereby they mentally compromise key figures within the game’s narrative in order to further their agenda. In the final installment of the original trilogy, the player character also begins to experience symptoms of poor mental health. This allows us to explore how episodes of mental instability are demarcated throughout the Mass Effect franchise, particularly through changes to the franchise’s established conventions of scoring and sound design, and investigate how Bioware attempt to communicate the player character’s deteriorating mental health to the player.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 9 Feb 2019
EventRMA Study Day 'Constructing the Moving Image' - University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Feb 2019 → …


ConferenceRMA Study Day 'Constructing the Moving Image'
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period9/02/19 → …

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