Tech noir

Fred Botting

in Limits of Horror

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780719077548
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701904 | DOI:
Tech noir

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Doom was the most advanced three-dimensional computer game in the world when it was released in 1993. The opening sequence of the violent virtual adventure playground leaves no doubt as to its aim or content. The rules of the game are kill or be killed until there are no more monsters left and the hostile military-industrial-research complex can be escaped. Mainly zones of terror, horror and violent sensation, bewildering labyrinths stalked by homicidal mutants, the various stages of the game also conceal secrets. The development of computer games owes debts to horror cinema and incorporates some of its features and, even, some images, in game design. The settings, shocks, monsters and graphic violence of games provide grounds for condemnation. Phantasmagoria did simply present terrifying images and evoke shocking effects with greater immediacy than Gothic fiction in a spectacular technical improvement on written communication. Though particular formulas fade, the association between Gothic fictions and technical innovations has persisted for more than 200 years.

Keywords: Doom; computer games; horror; terror; violence; Gothic fiction; technical innovations; monsters; phantasmagoria

Chapter.  26248 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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