Masculinity in videogames: the gendered gameplay of Silent Hill

Kirkland, Ewan (2009) Masculinity in videogames: the gendered gameplay of Silent Hill Camera Obscura, 24 (2). pp. 161-183. ISSN 0270-5346

[img] Text
KIRKLAND_Masculinity_in_Video_Games_Gendered_Gameplay_Silent_Hill.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (2MB)


This article explores construction and representation of masculinity in the “survival horror” video-game series Silent Hill. Noting the dominance of traditional male characters and masculine themes within the video-game medium, the Silent Hill franchise is seen as deviating from this assured, aggressive, and unexamined machismo. The series' protagonists are instead nondescript, flawed, domesticated men—unstable, angst-ridden, and unreliable in a manner that interrogates the dominant mode of masculine gameplay. The problematic nature of video-game interactivity and identity, the extent to which gameplay can exist independent of playable protagonists, and the gendering of video-game goals and objectives are considered. Despite conforming to certain masculine activities—fighting, collecting weaponry, exploring and dominating space—Silent Hill complicates such aspects through the game avatars' unremarkable abilities, limiting supplies, frantic combat styles, frustrating spatial progress, experiences of entrapment, and a pervading sense of helplessness, exemplified by the games' often deterministic linear structures. Overall, this article argues that the games encourage critical distance from the male game characters, the rescue missions they attempt and often fail, the monstrous images of femininity they imagine, and the voyeuristic practices in which they engage.

Item Type: Journal article
Subjects: P000 Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1215/02705346-2009-006
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Ewan Kirkland
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2011 11:59
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2014 13:09

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year