Date of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Type



English Language and Literatures

Director of Thesis

Susan Vanderborg

Second Reader

Christina Xan


Much of the existing scholarly literature on video games analyzed with Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics (2019) focuses on games that replicate the destructive, dehumanizing logic that Mbembe discusses. These are typically games involving the zombie genre or war and conquest that do not challenge Amanda Phillips’s idea of mechropolitics, a further development of Mbembe’s idea that implicates video games specifically. Nor do they challenge the dehumanization and warrant limitless destruction of zombies in the zombie genre of video games. This thesis focuses on Pathologic Classic HD (2015) as an example of a video game that presents a challenge to the logic while utilizing the setting of a settler colony that is besieged by an epidemic known as the Sand Pest. Pathologic Classic HD presents the game as a didactic dialogue with the player that subverts the player’s expectations of a mechropolitical game by role playing as three different healers whose mission is to find a cure for the dehumanization of the zombified townspeople, depicting the game and its ruling logic as a cruel experiment in necropolitics that the player must confront. Through developing an understanding of agency and how to challenge the necropolitical logics endemic in its game world, the player can use their agency to form an antidote to this logic.

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