On this week’s Fave This, Gita and guest Heather Alexandra talk about how games can benefit from being campy. Whether it’s Metal Gear Solid’s Vamp or Deadly Premonition’s sinner’s sandwiches, lots of games embrace how weird they are to be more fun.
With Patricia Hernandez out sick, I’m joined by Kotaku staff writer Heather Alexandra to talk about camp. Heather, who has been playing the weird and wonderful Deadly Premonition on Kotaku’s Twitch channel, helps me explain how camp applies to video games. In her essay “Notes on Camp,” Susan Sontag writes, “ Camp is art that proposes itself seriously, but cannot be taken altogether seriously because it is ‘too much.’” Video games, but especially the work of someone like Deadly Premonition director Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro, are pieces of performance that really easily lean into being “too much.” If you’ve ever laughed at an over the top kill animation or wanted to cosplay a character designed by Tetsuya Nomura, you might understand what I’m talking about.
Later on, we talk about creepypasta. These short, spooky stories are disseminated over the internet, usually as first person stories about a weird thing that happened to the person posting it. Stories like “Ben Drowned,” about a haunted copy of Majora’s Mask, serve as the internet’s campfire tales. Heather and I talk through what makes these stories really work, and why video games are a fertile ground for exploring the uncanny. In case you were wondering where you could find the creepypasta I mentioned in the episode, about a forgotten song from 2008 that makes people kill themselves, here’s a link.