This article investigates discursive procedures in From Software’s 2011 videogame Dark Souls. By combining procedural rhetorics, discourse analysis, and autoethnographical research play, it is argued that Dark Souls features post-Panoptical gameplay mechanics of both continuous surveillance and playful exhibitionism and a hybrid gameplay experience of both subjectivation and empowerment. Players randomly confront one another in a notoriously difficult and unforgiving game space that requires commitment and perseverance. The game, it is shown, provides a metaphor for online surveillance mechanics in which players/netizens are not just democratically gazing at each other but subjected to a procedural system determining who can see whom. Simultaneously, players are offered a number of procedural methods and moral archetypes to normalize and empower them.
|Journal||Games and Culture|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Feb 2015|