Gothic American Gaming

Krzywinska, Tanya ORCID logoORCID: (2017) Gothic American Gaming. In: Cambridge Companion to the American Gothic. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 229-242. ISBN

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Abstract / Summary

American Gothic of whatever stripe is arguably at its most interesting in games where it departs from stable and melodramatic locations of good and evil and moves toward a secular, dislocative “Weird” that is focused, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), in upon our dislocated selves. Like Penny Dreadful’s Nathan Chandler, the player of such games is no longer an innocent bystander or the hero of the day, putting wrongs to rights, but is instead caught-up in her own narrative of self-deception. This paper argues that monstrosity, Otherness, and dislocation provide the structures that give American Gothic games their character but they can be deployed to very different ends, from providing a strong sense of achievement and mastery of the game world to exactly the opposite. In all cases however, examination of concepts of monstrosity, Otherness, and dislocation raise critical and existential questions relevant to human psychology, metaphysics and morality. Silent Hill 2’s Pyramid Head heraldically presides over this complex space. A collaged exquisite corpse, rendered from Japanese folklore and computer-generated geometry, his estranged flesh speaks through the specific vocabulary of games to our collective desire to transcend both death and our fleshly incarnation. Pyramid Head is never defeated or fully explained across the full set of Silent Hill games; he thus remains supremely enigmatic, preserving his emblematic status as Monstrous Other with the rules of the game his to command.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Technology > Digital Works > Digital Games
Courses by Department: The Games Academy > Digital Games
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Tanya Krzywinska
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2017 10:33
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 13:23


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