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Reading: Narrative Archaeology: Excavating Object Encounter in Lovecraftian Video Games

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Narrative Archaeology: Excavating Object Encounter in Lovecraftian Video Games

Author:

Kerry Dodd

Abstract

H. P. Lovecraft’s iconic Cosmic Horror tales frequently involve an encounter with a non-human incommensurability that strains human systems of representation. However, while current critical work often focuses on the materialistic disruption caused by such contact, there has been little focus on the objects within these stories. I argue that the representation of such items reflects upon the paradigms through which material worth is perceived and can consequently assist in further nuancing theoretical critiques of anthropocentric epistemology. Video games frequently place material assets to construct a certain frame of contact for the player. It is within Lovecraftian video game adaptations then that there lies the potential to re-conceptualise the study of object encounter and representation to reflect upon the urgency of challenging processes of non-human contact. This article explores the role of artefacts within Lovecraft’s fiction, the representation of materiality in a range of video game adaptations, and finally examines the process of “narrative archaeology” in Bloodborne, where the player must piece together micro narratives from textual descriptions to reveal the macro cosmic revelation. In so doing, I argue that Bloodborne helps to identify the critical potential of Lovecraftian adaptation for materialist critique through the framework of virtual encounters.

How to Cite: Dodd, K., 2021. Narrative Archaeology: Excavating Object Encounter in Lovecraftian Video Games. Studies in Gothic Fiction, 7, pp.9–19.
Published on 15 Nov 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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