Fear of Monsters: Towards an understanding of the threat of the computational monster read through the theoretical lens of game-play

Lasse Juel Larsen*, Bo Kampmann Walther

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Abstract This article analyzes the configuration of fear generated by the computational monster in computer games. We view the monster as a computational entity, which we approach through our theory of game-play coupled with the concepts of loss aversion and endowment effect. Of particular interest is player perception of the threat posed by monsters as they perturb the experience of progression and the sensation of control within the game. We scrutinize this aspect from a situational as well as an existential perspective. Furthermore, we advance an analytical scheme of the threat of the computational monster, which is radically different from the traditional academic approach with its emphasis on the representation of monsters. Overall, we argue that the threat players perceive when facing monsters in computer games springs more from the computational nature of monsters—how they upset progression and the feeling of control—and less from the representation of the monster(s).
Original languageEnglish
JournalGames and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media
ISSN1555-4120
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14. Nov 2023

Keywords

  • World of Warcraft
  • computational
  • computer games
  • esthetics
  • game-play
  • monster
  • ontology
  • threat

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