With the rapidly approaching release of Resident Evil 3 remake, I thought this would be a good time to discuss the very real influence this series of games has had on my professional interests and development.
For those unfamiliar, Resident Evil is a series of seven mainline games as well as a few cannon movies and stage plays (while some here may be familiar with the western film series loosely inspired by these I very much am not). While the central gameplay involves combating a variety of monsters and the scientists who created and at times become them, the struggle to responsibly manage research and the propagation of biological weapons is constantly present in the near background. While I have devoted long hours to mastering the entirety of the series’ lore, entry which has most impacted me is Resident Evil 5. The reasons for this is are manifold. Firstly, this game was the first time I was explicitly introduced to the concept of modern global health interventions by more affluent nations as a kind of recompense for the exploitative behavior and avarice of previous generations across the globe. It was this which first planted in my mind the idea to look into the origins of the global health movement and gain an understanding of its own origins as a mechanism of colonization. Reinforcing this connection were a number of character names most notable Dr. Edward Ashford. This last name Ashford ultimately led me to consider the work of Colonel Bailey K. Ashford in Puerto Rico and the role of the American PHS in our own colonial enterprises. Both Ashford’s, though committed to medicine and the good of humanity, served as invaluable parts of exploitative machineries that grew far out of their control. The ultimate influence of resident evil on me professionally was my decision to pursue a degree in bioethics. Becoming aware through this media of the potential dangers of poor regulation of medical practices, research and the potential conflicts of interest that can engender such foibles in the system redoubled my desire to gain a skill set capable to combating these threats.
While many people view resident evil as a fantastical escape from reality, for me it became the basis of the very real issues I wish to work towards addressing throughout my career and forced me to confront the very real history of medical experts enabling exploitation.