• Jon Garrad deposited The Horror of Bradensbrook: Gothic coordinates in World of Warcraft on Humanities Commons 5 years, 3 months ago

    This presentation responds to Tanya Krzywinska’s 2015 paper ‘The Gamification of Gothic Coordinates in Videogames’, which discusses the awkwardness of the video game environment as a ‘space’ in which the Gothic narrative can unfold, and calls for more specific analysis of individual game texts to deepen our grasp of genre functions in gaming. Krzywinska briefly references World of Warcraft’s credentials in using false heroes and semiotic aspects of the Gothic; this paper will extend that idea into a reflection on one of the game’s most successful deployments of the Gothic narrative, which partially negotiates the problems Krzywinska suggests are posed by the protagonism inherent in video gaming. The presentation comprises commentary on a recorded playthrough of a quest line and dungeon from the most recent World of Warcraft expansion. I use recordings to ensure familiarity with the material being discussed and to highlight those areas in which the Gothic narrative is most apparent. Key themes include the presence of Gothic anti-heroes as non-player-characters, and the displacement of the Gothic through the ‘revelatory’ mode of storytelling common within both the Gothic genre and video game form. I also address areas in which the genre mechanics of the MMORPG continue to interfere with the cultivation of a Gothic space, and the contribution of player mindset to establishing a virtual ‘headspace’ in which the Gothic can operate.