Textual Analysis, Digital Games, Zombies


This paper is a contribution to ongoing debates about the value and limitations of textual analysis in digital games research. It is argued that due to the particular nature of digital games, both structural analysis and textual analysis are relevant to game studies. Unfortunately they tend to be conflated. Neither structural nor textual factors will fully determine meaning, but they are aspects of the cycle through which meaning is produced during play. Meaning in games is emergent, and play is a situated practice. Undertaking the textual analysis of a game does not necessarily involve ignoring these points. Textual analysis, like any methodology, does have limitations. The specifics of these limitations, however, will depend on the particular model of textuality employed. These issues are explored through an analysis of the survival horror game, Resident Evil 4.