Playing the Intercorporeal: Frankenstein's Legacy for Games

Krzywinska, Tanya (2016) Playing the Intercorporeal: Frankenstein's Legacy for Games. In: Global Frankenstein. Palgrave Macmillian UK, London. ISBN not yet issued (Submitted)

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Abstract / Summary

With so many games falling into the generic categories of science fiction and horror, and very frequently calling on vocabularies of the Gothic, you’d expect at least one or two direct adaptations of Shelley’s Frankenstein. While there are legions of vampire and zombies, the legacy of Frankenstein for games is far more subtly manifest than with all those other monsters. This paper analyses some of the ways in which games carry the Frankenstein legacy, from the ‘stitched horrors’ of World of Warcraft to the monsters of Half-Life. Focusing on monsters and mad scientists, the paper creates a map for understanding the terrain of legacy for games. I start with a general examination of the terrain including signalling how the posthuman in games is often highly indebted to Shelley’s novel. I then move to address moral and existential dimensions of this legacy evident in many games that draw on Gothic approaches to science (Half-Life and Bioshock for example), focusing on the ambiguity of monster/creator and the operation of hubris.  I tie these elements into the paper’s main focus on death. Here I am concerned with the pleasures of games for players as well as with representational forms. My core claim in the paper is that games and Shelley’s Frankenstein (the character and the novel) are predicated on a denial real of death. This is a gambit I shall explain and explore. As the paper draws to a close my argument becomes clear: the reason that the legacy is (pervasively) implicit rather than explicit in games, is due to the fact that the denial of death in games is structural (and crucially not thematic as it is in Shelley’s novel) and this is why the novel I tragic, but the normative vocabularies of games are such that tragedy is near impossible – they offer then a very different form of catharsis.

Item Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: not yet issued
Subjects: Technology > Digital Works > Digital Games
Courses by Department: The Games Academy > Digital Games
Depositing User: Tanya Krzywinska
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2017 13:31
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2017 07:49
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/1929

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