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Gamifying Fictions of Defeat: Adaptations of Lovecraft to Games Media

Author:

Jonathan Garrad

Abstract

Attempts to gamify Lovecraft encounter an essential dichotomy. They work with a body of fiction concerned with weakness in the face of infinity, adapted into interactive forms defined by the presence of a win condition. Aligning the win condition with the desired outcome, while still reflecting the hopelessness of Lovecraft’s fiction, has hitherto been a process of trial and error. In this article, I briefly outline the specific problems in adapting Lovecraft to interactive media that chiefly centers around Lovecraft’s protagonists (being figures of failure), drawing on two Lovecraft stories that have been particularly popular as ur-text for game adaptations and one that should: “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and “The Dunwich Horror.” I then assess the Call of Cthulhu tabletop game, both editions of the Arkham Horror board game, and the Dark Corners of the Earth video game, through a critical lens which focuses on what constitutes “victory” on the game’s terms and aligns that constitution to the source material.

How to Cite: Garrad, J., 2021. Gamifying Fictions of Defeat: Adaptations of Lovecraft to Games Media. Studies in Gothic Fiction, 7, pp.20–29.
Published on 15 Nov 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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