Apocalypse and Abomination: The Representation of Death in World War II Digital Games
2003 (English)In: Sacred Media: Transforming traditions in the interplay of religion and media, 2003Conference paper (Other academic)
In the case of WWII - and the WWII FPS (First Person Shooter) games that I am studying for my PhD thesis - death is a main ingredient, so plain and obvious that you might even slip past it while looking for interesting things to analyse. But, as a number of researchers - for example Zygmunt Bauman - have pointed out: representations of death and changes in these, as well as ways in which we handle death and dying, offer important knowledge about cultural processes and self-understanding in contemporary society. This also accounts for our perception of the body and its symbolism, including aspects of impurity and decay (Bauman 1992, 1993, Douglas 1966, Kristeva 1980, Turner 1996, Åhrén Snickare 2002; cf Bakhtin 1965). Obviously, there are important connections to the sphere of myth and religion. As pointed out by Durkheim and others after him, religion and mythical thought are to a large extent present even in so-called secularised societies (Durkheim 1912, Eliade 1957 a, 1957 b, Cassirer 1946), something that becomes quite clear in the context of war. Considering the specific context of war games I found it interesting to add a historical perspective on the mythic concept of war casualties, as examined by George L. Mosse in Fallen Soldiers. Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (1990).
In this paper I try to sketch the outlines of a study of the representation of death in WWII videogames. I also discuss what this might say about the relationship to death in contemporary society (or, more specifically, in Western popular culture), and conclude with some reflections on the ideological implications that might be found.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Death, War, Myth, Impurity, Digital games
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16842OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-16842DiVA: diva2:183362
Paper presented at the conference Sacred Media; Transforming Traditions in the Interplay of Religion and Media, Jyväskylä, Finland, 10-13 July 2003, session ”Myths, Icons and Narratives”. The conference was organized by Helsinki University, the Department of Comparative Religion, and Jyväskylä University, the Department of Communication.2008-12-292008-12-29Bibliographically approved