Schlagwort-Archive: Zombies

“MmmRRRrr UrrRrRRrr!!”[1] Translating Political Anxieties into Zombie in Digital Games.

by Eugen Pfister

The following essay is based on a talk I gave at a conference of the Institute for Cultural Studies and History of Theater at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. It originally appeared in 2020 in this beautiful anthology on the Dark Side of Translation, edited by Federico Italiano. It is released here with the kind permission of the editor and publisher

Translating into Zombie Video Games

The zombie apocalypse in video games has its own perverted beauty. Games like The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, US 2013 / PS3 et al.) , Left4Dead (Valve, US 2008 / Xbox360 et al.) or Dying Light (Techland, PL 2015 / PS4 et al.) immerse us in a mesmerizing dystopia of gigantic collapsed skyscrapers and picturesquely crumbling government buildings. Once-proud cities are now littered with car wrecks and debris, overrun by emergent vegetation glistening golden in the evening sun. With the continuous technological development of increasingly powerful game engines, these dystopian imaginations of our near future become more and more enthralling. The interactive zombie apocalypse has become photorealistic, with an image quality as close to real life as possible. Rendered in high definition, zombies in these games appear on our computer screens as intricately designed walking corpses. Every inch of their crumbling bodies is exposed to us with exhibitory glee. They are covered with purulent and putrescent wounds, showing the human body in the vibrant colours of its different states of decomposition.

“MmmRRRrr UrrRrRRrr!!”[1] Translating Political Anxieties into Zombie in Digital Games. weiterlesen

Games are never innocent

The following essay is based on the third part of my keynote speech at the FROG conference 2017 on October, 14th 2017 at the Wiener Rathaus. The first part „Keep your Politics out of my games!“ can be found here, as well as impromtu replies by Tobias Winnerling and Robert Heinze. The second part “On political communication in digital games” can be found here.

Political mythologies in digital Games

by Eugen Pfister

When analysing the different possible  aspects of political communication in video games I am most interested in those aspects that are normally ignored; political statements that are easily overlooked and therefore most of the time not questioned: aspects of the political, that are not per se “hidden”, but at the same time not consciously acknowledged. Political messages that dissimulate as “natural” components of a given genre for example, that  claim to always have been part of these games. Think of the predominance of war and conflict in video game mechanics for example. We commonly hear that the merger of game and conflict is a natural, a historical constant. Bataille navale, chess,  go, etc. etc. The Prussian “Kriegsspiel” is mis en scene as a direct ancestor to “America’s army”… It is suggested to be natural, that a large part of all new video games center on war, battles, armed conflict, etc. But what about early prehistoric role playing, what about gyan chauper ( the forebear of our snakes and ladders), a game intended to teach morality? If a presumed “common sense” answer to a question is suspiciously simple, we should at least take the time to verify or falsify the answer.  The french philosopher Roland Barthes did exactly that when writing his “mythologies” in the 1950s.

Games are never innocent weiterlesen

Jacques Lacan, Caspar David Friedrich und die Zombie-Apokalypse: Eine erste Annäherung an Mythen in “The Last of Us”

Mythen des Digitalen Spiels

The Last of Us (Naughty Dog: US 2013 / PS4)

von Eugen Pfister

(Es handelt sich hier um eine überarbeitete Version dieses Textes)

Das von “Naughty Dog” exklusiv für die Sony Playstation 3 entwickelte Spiel (welches später für die PS4 generalüberholt wurde) [1]  hinterließ bei vielen  – so auch bei mir – einen nachhaltigen Eindruck. Die erzählte Geschichte, die gezeichneten Bilder, die erweckten Gefühle bewegten nicht nur den Großteil der KritikerInnen sondern auch viele SpielerInnen. Entsprechend befindet es sich in so ziemlich allen “Best of” Listen des Jahres 2013 und scheint nach wie vor als Referenzwerk für gelungenes Storytelling in einschlägigen Artikeln auf. Dabei ist weder die Spielmechanik, noch das tragende Narrativ besonders originell: Dieselbe Geschichte wurde in den letzten Jahren häufig erzählt: Eine Seuche bricht aus, die einen großen Teil der Menschheit (oder zumindest der US-amerikanischen Bevölkerung) de facto in Zombies verwandelt (auch wenn sie innerhalb der Spielwelt nur als “Infizierte” bezeichnet werde). Unter dem Einfluss eines Cordyceps-Pilz der über Sporen übertragen wird, verwandeln sich die infizierten Menschen in ein willenloses Kollektiv triebgesteuerter Monster. Jacques Lacan, Caspar David Friedrich und die Zombie-Apokalypse: Eine erste Annäherung an Mythen in “The Last of Us” weiterlesen