“He died a lot”

The Gothic Gameplay of 'What Remains of Edith Finch'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

Abstract

This chapter is an exploration of Giant Sparrow’s acclaimed ‘walking simulator’ What Remains of Edith Finch, drawing on a combination of videogame scholarship and Gothic studies. In an appropriate play on the game’s title, Shane Snyder considers Edit Finch, alongside Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, a videogame unfolding within an abandoned space entailing ‘an exploration of what has been left behind’ (Snyder 2018, 9-10). The game tells of a young woman’s return to her abandoned family home following the death of her mother. Narrated by the eponymous protagonist, it is structured as a journal, a testimony, a last will and testament left by its central character to her unborn child, detailing the family curse which has claimed the lives of every Finch before her. Every sealed room contains a shrine-like space displaying a painting of a family member, objects reflecting their lives, and a document of some form. Interacting with this manuscript produces a brief interactive sequence, teleological structured to end in the demise of its respective family member. Play involves investigating the dynastic mansion, learning how generations of Finches were variously poisoned, crushed, drowned or decapitated. This chapter will follow Edith’s path through the mansion and the twisted chronology she encounters, illustrating how this game reproduces themes of Gothic fiction, while translating narrative tropes and traditions according to the conventions and affordances of the videogame medium.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlaying Dead
PublisherEmerald
Chapter5
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Fingerprint

Gothic
Video Games
Mansion
Shrines
Demise
Esther
Gothic Fiction
Translating
Testaments
Simulator
Testimony
Protagonist
Manuscripts
Chronology
Rapture
Affordances
Tropes
Curse
Giant

Keywords

  • death
  • videogames
  • walking simulator
  • horror
  • Gothic

Cite this

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abstract = "This chapter is an exploration of Giant Sparrow’s acclaimed ‘walking simulator’ What Remains of Edith Finch, drawing on a combination of videogame scholarship and Gothic studies. In an appropriate play on the game’s title, Shane Snyder considers Edit Finch, alongside Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, a videogame unfolding within an abandoned space entailing ‘an exploration of what has been left behind’ (Snyder 2018, 9-10). The game tells of a young woman’s return to her abandoned family home following the death of her mother. Narrated by the eponymous protagonist, it is structured as a journal, a testimony, a last will and testament left by its central character to her unborn child, detailing the family curse which has claimed the lives of every Finch before her. Every sealed room contains a shrine-like space displaying a painting of a family member, objects reflecting their lives, and a document of some form. Interacting with this manuscript produces a brief interactive sequence, teleological structured to end in the demise of its respective family member. Play involves investigating the dynastic mansion, learning how generations of Finches were variously poisoned, crushed, drowned or decapitated. This chapter will follow Edith’s path through the mansion and the twisted chronology she encounters, illustrating how this game reproduces themes of Gothic fiction, while translating narrative tropes and traditions according to the conventions and affordances of the videogame medium.",
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“He died a lot” : The Gothic Gameplay of 'What Remains of Edith Finch'. / Kirkland, Ewan.

Playing Dead. Emerald, 2019.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

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