Finding hope within hopelessness: an exploration of critical dystopiaand its use in modern video games

Masters Thesis

Boyd, D. 2018. Finding hope within hopelessness: an exploration of critical dystopiaand its use in modern video games. Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Arts and Humanities
AuthorsBoyd, D.
TypeMasters Thesis
Qualification nameMA

Since the term ‘critical dystopia’ was first conceptualised and explored by academics in utopianism studies, including Tom Moylan and Rafaella Baccolini, there has been little research undertaken to exemplify how the form has been utilised in modern screen culture; mostly involving studies based on analysis of literature and cinematic texts rather than all facets of visual art and media.

This dissertation aims to not only showcase the theoretical framework surrounding critical dystopia in comparison to its classical form, but to provide insight in to how its use in modern video gaming has proliferated whilst inheriting narrative and aesthetical traits traditionally associated with its literary and cinematic counterparts.

This essay also argues that the integration of gameplay dynamics alongside narrative aspects further contributes to them being defined as such and provides a unique way to engage with discussions of world issues; including the integration of morality-based choice making, interactive narratives and a deep level of player immersion through use of realistic physics, sound, graphics and mechanics such as in-game construction. These elements aid in creating a personalised and multi-faceted approach to understanding the implied dystopia, and any utopian impulse or hope for positive progression beyond it.

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Publication process dates
Deposited05 Feb 2019
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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