Kirkland E (2010) Discursively constructing the art of Silent Hill. Games and Culture: A journal of interactive media, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 314-328
Kirkland’s research questions the relationship between new media technologies and traditional media formations such as film, television and print media. This article, in particular, questions the extent to which ancillary texts released by the developer Konami confer an artistic status on the Silent Hill videogame series. Adopting a discursive approach to the notion of art, Kirkland considers the extent to which traditional formations of cultural value are mobilised.
Through an examination of the Silent Hill game texts, the advertising campaigns, and the games’ representation in the documentary The Making of Silent Hill 2, Kirkland shows how the narrative elements of the games are privileged over the ludic gaming aspects to position the videogames within a tradition of art cinema and frameworks of artistry and authorship. Research involved sourcing a number of often obscure examples of promotional material circulated by the Silent Hill publisher Konami, and analysing the content of trailers, advertising videos and documentaries. Through the examination of the ways in which media ‘paratexts’ contribute to the cultural situation and consumption of screen culture, the paper provides an innovative approach to screen, film and videogame scholarship.
This paper was first presented in January 2006 at London Metropolitan University’s Mindplay conference and develops Kirkland’s previous research into the ways in which horror videogames self-consciously reference their own textual nature and how media present in videogame worlds serve to construct authenticity, realism, and horror affect (‘The self-reflexive funhouse of Silent Hill’, published in Convergence: The international journal of research into new media in 2007; and ‘Resident Evil’s Typewriter: Horror videogames and their media’, published in Games & Culture, Vol. 4, No. 2, April 2009).