Face on, face off : alternative depictions of humanity and monstrosity in silent hill 2 and amnesia : the dark descent
Ong, Sher Li
Date of Issue2014
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper discusses the notion of unmasking a monster as a means of defeating it, and the ways in which this idea reveals several conventional ideas about monstrosity and humanity. This process of unmasking is dependent on three main assumptions: that there exists a binary division between monstrosity and humanity; that this relationship is static and involves a heroic human who performs the unmasking and a monster that is unmasked; and that this relationship is a confrontational one. These rules governing the relationship between humans and monsters in horror narratives are more prominent in video games, where such rules are enforced both by narrative conventions and game mechanics and design choices. However, this paper contends that through alternative game mechanics and game design in a video game like Silent Hill 2, the aforementioned assumptions about humans and monsters can be problematized. Through Silent Hill 2, this paper argues that these assumptions are firstly based on the notion that there is a clear distinction between monstrosity and humanity, and that the game shows that by decentering the human figure in the game these categories can gradually become confused. Secondly, by creating confusion between the categories of human and monster, it is thus necessary to reconsider the relationship between these two categories of being that is not simply a confrontational one. Finally, this new alternative relationship between humans and monsters is conceptualized here as one of constant exchange between the two categories and an ultimately chimerical one.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University