Fantastic Universes and H.P. Lovecraft in Survival Horror Games. A Case Study of P. T. (Silent Hills)

Marta Fernández Ruíz, Héctor Puente Bienvenido


We present a study of Howard Phillips Lovecraft´s imaginary in horror the video game genre (survival horror), as well as points of contact and divergence between the fantastic experience in literature and experiences we live in a video game. To achieve this objective we carry out a case study focusing on the playable 'teaser P.T.' (2014). Through participant observation techniques and reception analysis we contrast the level of presence of different definitional elements of fantasy and compare them to a table inspired by the Lovecraftian uncanny universe. Results show an adjustment to the notion of the fantastic in video games. Audiovisual resources and game mechanics are revealed as a powerful tool capable of evoking the scariest of gaming experiences.


Video games, Game Studies, Lovecraft, fantastic universes, survival horror.

Full Text:

PDF (Español)


ADDISS, Stephen (2001): Japanese Ghosts and Demons: Art of the Supernatural, Paperback, USA.

BOELLSTORFF, Tom, Bonnie NARDI, Celia PEARCE y T.L. TAYLOR (2012): Ethnography and Virtual worlds. A handbook of Method, Princeton University Press, Nueva Jersey.

CAILLOIS, Roger (1965): Au coeur du fantastique, Gallimard, París.

COHEN, Annabel (2011): «Music as source of emotion in Film», en Patrik Juslin (ed.), Handbook of music and emotion: theory, research, applications, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 249-272.

EGENFELT-NIELSEN, Simon, Jonas HEIDE-SMITH, y Susana TOSCA (2008): Understanding Video Games, Rouledge, Nueva York.

ERMI, Laura y Frans MÄYRÄ (2005): «Fundamental Components of Gameplay Experience: Analysing Immersion», en Suzanne Castell y Jennifer Jenson (eds.), Changing Views: Worlds in Play. Selected Papers of the 2005 Digital Games Research Association’s Second International Conference, pp. 15-27, disponible en [03.01.2015]

HOEGER, Laura y William HUBER (2007): Ghastly Multiplication: Fatal Frame II and the Videogame Uncann. DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play The University of Tokyo, September, 2007, vol. 4, disponible en [06.01.2015]

JENKINS, Henry (2004): «Game Design as Narrative Architecture», en Noah Wardrip-Fruin y Pat Harrigan (eds.), First Person. New media as story, performance and game, The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp. 118-130.

LOVECRAFT, Howard Phillips (2010): En las montañas de la locura, en Juan Antonio Molina Foix (ed.), Narrativa completa II. H. P. Lovecraft, Valdemar, Madrid, pp. 365-484.

__________ (2010): «La Sombra sobre Innsmouth», en Juan Antonio Molina Foix (ed.), Narrativa completa II. H. P. Lovecraft, Valdemar, Madrid, pp. 485-562.

__________ (2010): El horror sobrenatural en la literatura, Valdemar, Madrid.

__________ (2013): «La maldición que cayó sobre Sarnath», en Juan Antonio Molina Foix (ed.), Narrativa completa I. H. P. Lovecraft, Valdemar, Madrid, pp. 159-166.

__________ (2013): «La llamada de Cthulhu», en Juan Antonio Molina Foix (ed.), Narrativa completa I. H. P. Lovecraft, Valdemar, Madrid, pp. 553-588.

KIRKLAND, Ewan (2005): «Restless dreams in Silent Hill: approaches to video game analysis», Journal of Media Practice, vol. 3, núm. 5.

__________ (2007): «The Self-Reflexive Funhouse of Silent Hill», Convergence, vol. 13, núm. 4.

__________ (2009): «Horror Videogames and the Uncanny», DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory Brunel University, vol. 5, disponible en> [04.01.2015]

__________ (2009b): «Storytelling in Survival Horror Video Games», en Bernard Perron (ed.), Horror Video Games. Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play, McFarland, Jefferson, pp. 62-78.

KRZYWINSKA, Tanya (2009): «Reanimating H.P. Lovecraft: The Ludic Paradox of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth», en Bernard Perron (ed.), Horror Video Games. Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play, McFarland, Jefferson, pp. 267-287.

KUBRICK, Stanley (1980): The Shining, Warner Bross.

MANOVICH, Lev (2001): The Language of New Media, The MIT Press, Cambridge.

NIEDENTHAL, Simon (2009): «Patterns of obscurity: gothic setting and light in Resident Evil 4 and Silent Hill 2», en Perron, Bernard (ed.), Horror video games: essays on the fusion of fear and play, McFarland, Carolina del Norte, pp. 168-180.

NITSCHE, Michael (2008): Video Game Spaces: Image, Play, and Structure in 3D Worlds, The MIT Press, Cambridge.

PEARCE, Celia (2009): Communities of play: Emergent cultures in multiplayer games and virtual worlds, The MIT Press, Cambridge.

PENZOLT, Peter (1952): The Supernatural in Fiction, Peter Nevill, Londres.

PERRON, Bernard (2012): Silent Hill: The Terror Engine, University of Michigan Press, Michigan.

ROUX-GILLARD, Guillaume (2011): «Listening to Fear: A Study of Sound in Horror Computer Games», en Mark Grimshaw (ed.), Game sound technology and player interaction: concepts and developments, Information Science Reference, Hershey PA, pp.192-212.

SANTOS, Mark y White, Sarah (2005): «Playing with Ourselves: A Psychoanalytic Investigation of Resident Evil and Silent Hill», en Nate Garrelts (ed.), Digital Gameplay: Essays on the Nexus of Game and Gamer, Mc Farland, Jefferson, pp. 69-79.

SCARBOROUGH, Dorothy (2009): The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction, BiblioBazaar, Charleston.

TAYLOR, T.L. (2006): Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture, MIT Press, Cambridge.

THOM, Randy (1999): «Designing a Movie for Sound», disponible en [08.01.2015]

TODOROV, Tzvetan (1995): Introducción a la literatura fantástica, Editorial Coyoacán, México D.F.

TOSCA, Susana (2013): «Amnesia: The Dark Descent: The Player’s Very Own Purgatory», en Alice Bell, Astrid Ensslin y Hans Rustad (eds.), Analyzing Digital Fiction, Routledge, London, pp. 109-123.

VALLES, Miguel (1999): Técnicas cualitativas de investigación social: Reflexión metodológica y práctica profesional, Síntesis, Madrid.

VAX, Louis (1971): Arte y Literatura Fantásticas, Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires.


Capcom (1996-2012): Resident Evil, Capcom.

Chaosium (1981): La llamada de Cthulhu, Chaosium.

Cyan Worlds (1993): Myst, Broderbund.

Edge Entertainment (1987): Arkham Horror, Edge Entertainment.

Frictional Games (2010): Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Frictional Games.

Headfirst Productions (2006): Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, Bethesda Softworks.

Id Software (1993): Doom, Id Software.

Kojima Productions (2014): P.T (Silent Hills), Konami.

Konami (2003): Silent Hill 3, Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo.

Team Silent (1999): Silent Hill, Konami.

Team Silent (2001): Silent Hill2, Konami.

Visceral Games (2010): Dante’s Inferno. Electronic Arts.

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
Copyright (c) 2015 Marta Fernández Ruíz, Héctor Puente Bienvenido