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chapterposted on 2018-03-28, 00:00 authored by Emma WhatmanEmma Whatman, Tory Tedeschi
Over the past forty years, fairy tales have proven to be easily adaptable to the medium of video games. Like other forms of digital media, video games draw on fairy-tale narratives, motifs, and iconography to form part of the diverse body of fairy-tale media texts. However, unlike many other such texts, fairy-tale video games offer the medium-specific affordances of the form that often rely on player interactivity and decision making. Video game studies is still in its youth, having only emerged in the 1980s (see Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith, and Tosca 2015); however, it already boasts a range of approaches including, but not limited to, narratology, theories of rep- resentation, postmodernism, and art theory (see Wolf and Perron 2003). Not only is the video game industry a “financial juggernaut” (Egenfeldt-Nielson, Smith, and Parajes 2015, 7) worthy of attention, but video games also demand critical analysis of their cultural, aesthetic, and ideo- logical affordances and limitations. Our focus here is on how fairy-tale video games adapt their source narratives and motifs to the medium and, as a result, how ideological concerns—such as gender, trauma, and abuse—are entangled within these constructs. This chapter identifies a current rising trend of revisionist fairy-tale video games that offer a virtual space for players to explore the darker undercurrents of the fairy-tale form through player interactivity and culpa- bility. Many fairy-tale video games seek to romanticize or sensationalize their source narratives, yet fairy-tale video games can also offer a space of catharsis, exposing the transformative power and wish-fulfillment potential that the fairy tale has to offer.