Playing with the Legend: Ostension and Extra-Textual Production in Minecraft

Roman Ohlendorf

Abstract


Combining game studies and folklore studies, this article examines the origin of Herobrine, a fan-created legend in the popular video game Minecraft. By linking the creation and dissemination of the legend to both fan-production in game studies and the semiotic concept of ostension as utilised in folklore studies the article will give an overview of the different methods of remediation that are being employed in the spread and retelling of the legend. Addressing the nature of virtual game space, the article will discuss the relationship of space and legend creation and thereby comment on the productive potential of the act of play. Minecraft’s Herobrine is of special significance in this regard because, in a rare occurrence, this legend was conceived not by the developers of the game but emerged from the player community itself. As such it is ample evidence of player production and gives insight into the player-driven creation of meaning in video games and how their creations renegotiate the concept of the real within the liminoid space of the game.

Keywords


Folklore Studies, Game Studies, Legends, Ostension, Fan production, Gamespace, Creepypasta, Game culture

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17885/heiup.rel.23547

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-heiup-rel-235470