Dissertation: Im Western nichts Neues – Remediation von Genres in Videospielen

Im Western nichts Neues – Remediation von Genres in Videospielen

Schriften zur Medienwissenschaft, volume 42

Hamburg , 282 pages

ISBN 978-3-339-10162-4 (print)
ISBN 978-3-339-10163-1 (eBook)

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Since their early days video games have been influenced by other media. Richard Garriott’s Ultima from the 1980s as well as today’s Warhammer-Videogames were inspired by the ideas and narrations from J.R.R. Tolkien’s literature, i.e. The Lord of The Rings. Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft was created as a female equivalent to Indiana Jones and, in the Call of Duty-Franchise, the gamers are reminded of war scenarios from movies such as Saving Private Ryan.

The simulation or iteration of the aesthetics of ‘older’ media is called Remediation. Nowadays, seeing that the Videogame has become one of the leading mediums in our society, it has become an influence on it’s own rights and is now reflected in ‘classic’ media. Styles, images and narrations that have originated in Videogames, are being referenced in literature, the cinema and the arts.

The Game Studies have focused on Narratology in order to deem videogames approachable by means of classic media science. On the other hand they stated an incompatibility of ludic systems and narrations. This critical analysis challenges many of the buzzwords that still persist within the realm of the Game Studies and its feud between ludology and narratology: buzzwords such as nonlinearity, interactivity and freedom of choice.

This critique offers a revised set of instruments which the author uses in a second part to analyse how the oldest of all movie genres, the Western, has paved its way into the virtual worlds of today’s videogames. The genre that was once understood as a US-national myth about the origins of the one nation under God and the conquering or taming of the wild west beyond the frontier of civilized society, is in itself a melting pot of historic facts and fictions from literature, photography, art and of course, the movies. The author shows from which sources videogames such as Red Dead Redemption, Call of Juarez or Desperados drew their image of the Old West and eventually, how the Games are shaping the cultural knowledge of what is seen as a Western for future understanding.

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