God in the Machine: Depicting Religion in Video Games
This thesis shows that Dark Souls uses representations of fictive religion to comment on real religion. These representations are rooted in the affordances of the video game medium, meaning that even as Dark Souls comments on real religion it also comes up against the limits and particularities of its own form. I argue this case with reference to three aspects of fictive religion found in Dark Souls: religious architecture, religious violence, and religious sacrifice. Individually, none of these aspects are exclusively religious. Architecture and violence exist outside of religion, and so does sacrifice, taken in a broad sense. Thus for Dark Souls real religion is not treated as existing in some sealed vacuum isolated from other areas of human life. It has cultural, political, and economic dimensions, and part of the commentary offered by Dark Souls examines those interconnections. A study of Dark Souls thus informs our understanding of the capacity of video games to engage meaningfully with topics such as religion, as well as perhaps suggesting certain structural similarities between religion and video games.
Advisor: Ciccoricco, David
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: English and Linguistics
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Dark Souls; video games; computer games; religion
Research Type: Thesis