Sonic Terror: Representing the Woman Character in Horror Video Games

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Spencer, Brooke
music , video games , fear , disruption , Bioshock , Doki Doki Literature Club! , Silent Hill 4 , Bloodborne , Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice , non-linear sound , distortion , Resident Evil: Village , Bayonetta
The woman character in horror video games is often presented in a negative or simplistic light for the player. Commonly seen as otherly or monstrous, the woman character becomes feared through her appearance and mannerisms but can also be analyzed through sonic elements. Sound and music are important elements that interact with narrative and gameplay, shaping the way in which the player interprets and interacts with the woman figure. This document examines the concept of ‘fear’ and what exactly it means to players: the fear being specifically a change or disruption of order to the player, often manifested in horror video games as women. The games analyzed include Bioshock, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Doki Doki Literature Club, Silent Hill 4: The Room, Bloodborne, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Resident Evil 8: Village and Bayonetta. Fear is designed around the assumption of a male player with a patriarchal understanding of women’s roles in society. Change or disruption to these notions is the basis for the horror. This is not to say that all game experiences are the same or without complexity, but based on a textual analysis of the video games, rooted in foundations of feminist film theory, the research concludes that regressive patriarchal concepts and archetypes continue to exist and endure.
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