‘The Self-Reflexive Funhouse of Silent Hill’

Kirkland, Ewan (2007) ‘The Self-Reflexive Funhouse of Silent Hill’ Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media, 13 (4). pp. 403-415. ISSN 1354-8565

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This paper explores Konami's horror videogame franchise Silent Hill according to recent discussions of immersion, alienation and critical simulation. Silent Hill constitutes an extremely selfreflexive series, frequently acknowledging its videogame status and interrogating the medium as experience and text. This, paradoxically, produces an experience of simultaneous critical distance and intensified engagement. Clumsy controls, grotesque imagery and deterministic gameplay disrupt player immersion. The digital emulation of analogue media and its distortion denies technological transparency. Silent Hill invites comparisons to Brechtian theatre and filmmaking through its estranged protagonists, multiple `alternative' spaces, and pervasive `unpleasure'. Yet while encouraging critical engagement with the videogame process, these aspects also contribute to the games' horror affect. Anti-immersive elements rely upon repellent audiovisuals. Analogue disintegration is employed to signify evil, corruption and contamination. Contradicting assumptions that emphasizing construction and enunciation disrupts identification, immersion and illusion, such aspects are fundamental to Silent Hill's operation as horror text.

Item Type: Journal article
Subjects: P000 Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1177/1354856507081964
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Ewan Kirkland
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2011 12:04
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2014 14:31
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/9448

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