Kirkland E (2013) Gothic videogames, survival horror, and the Silent Hill series. Gothic Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 108-122
This is the first article in the predominantly literary journal Gothic Studies to examine the relationship between videogames and the gothic genre, to consider the extent to which the gothic mode is not only trans-national, but also trans-media.
Building Kirkland’s previous investigations of videogame genres, ('Survival horrality: Analysis of a videogame genre', 2011), this article extends previous videogame scholarship through its methodological engagement with the nature of videogames as textual experiences and through its theoretical investigation of the specific manner in which digital games express Gothic tropes according to the particular nature of the videogame medium.
Combining a focused textual analysis of each of the Silent Hill videogames, extensive play of specific titles, and an examination of the strategy guides, online walkthroughs and online game footage, with an examination of European, North American and East Asian gothic tropes contexts, Kirkland shows how Silent Hill, with its tales of repressed memories, childhood traumas, family and community secrets, and the revelation of horrors from the past, embeds Gothic notions of time, history and fate into its narrative.
The article developed from a paper presented at Brighton’s Catalyst Club in June 2010 and a discussion of horror videogames at the World Horror Conference in March 2010. Versions of this paper have also been presented at the University of Prague, Sussex University, University of Brighton and at Brunel University (2009). This work has also been developed into a chapter for a forthcoming collection, The Gothic World (Routledge, 2013).