Gothic Horror Gameplay and Interactive Fiction: A Study of Betrayal at House on the Hill, Fury of Dracula, and Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein

William Samuel Chavez (University of California, Santa Barbara)

The use of horror as an instrument of moral sensationalism hinders the genre’s immediate game design. Gothic dread, however, presents the ultimate equalizer for both horror gameplay and interactive fiction. The selected tabletop games are constructed around downward transcendence, fatalism, and self-destruction. They exploit fears of inundation (to be overpowered and seized by oppressive game spaces and mechanics). Narratives progress and conditions worsen as certain players are made abject; producing asymmetric gameplay and monster control/builds reflective of villain sympathy and heroic disenchantment. Gameplay variance stems from mystery and forced repetition, prompting the academy to reconsider the legacy of gothic storytelling.

Part of 05-11 Interpreting Games, Friday, October 14, 10:30 am–12:30 pm