A Digital Devil’s Saga. Representation(s) of the Demon in Recent Videogames

Jonathon O'Donnell

Abstract


This paper investigates the use of demons in videogames. It analyses how representations of demons in videogames replicate and subvert theological and socio-historic representations. While demons can be seen as ‘loans’ from Christianity, their representations in videogames often rely on syntheses of religious and secular sources, including Christian theology, world mythologies, conspiracy theory, and post-Miltonic literary appropriations of Satan as humanistic liberator and symbol of desire. These produce representations genealogically linked to but distinct from traditional Christian representations of demons. This paper looks at how the figuration of demons in recent videogames, primarily DmC: Devil May Cry (2013), and Shin Megami Tensei IV (2013), fit into the secular ideological legacy of the Enlightenment, in which the demon departs from purely a representation of evil and becomes recast as a polyvalent symbol capable of exploring a number of human themes, including desire, liberation, and control.

Keywords


videogames, demonology, secularism, Enlightenment, humanism, evil

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11588/rel.2015.0.18511

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-rel-185115