Game Studies, Monster Studies

Monstrosity “gamified”

At DiGRA 2013 in Atlanta (such a fun, intense and inspiring conference!), I had the pleasure to give a talk based on my chapter for the book Monster Culture in the 21st Century, edited by Marina Levina and Diem-Mi Bui. It was about the “gamification” of monsters. As I didn’t submit a full paper, I am now uploading the slides with some comments to make sense of the slides.

The talk, titled “Know Your Monster: How Video Games Disenchant Monstrosity Through Control”, I posited the argument that video games, due to being rule-based and due to stressing player’s agency, create a new kind of representation of monstrosity, one that is defeatable, knowable and convertible into in-game capital (loot or XP). The PDF file with slides misses the introductory video from the controversial “Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2” ad campaign. My comment was that the “moms” in the video can be easily disgusted by the monsters and the overall violence and ugliness, because they weren’t playing the game. while “players” approach monsters as something that can be faced and figured out.

After the talk, I received great feedback from a number of conference participants. (Thanks!) Some of them asked me about the book. It is an edited volume that features chapters about monsters in TV, film, games and contemporary folklore, mostly in the vein of cultural studies and critical theory. The book is available from various monstrous retailers.