“Ruinensehnsucht”: Longing for Decay in Computer Games

Mathias Fuchs


There is no technical reason and no quality inherent to the medium of computer games that would require corrosion, dust, and ruins. Pixels do not corrode and 3D geometry is not affected by physical decay. Yet if we look at contemporary computer games we find an abundance of ruined buildings, of mould and of all forms of decay of organic matter and inorganic materials. It would be too easy to explain this fact by an attempt to increase realism, because some of these games clearly feature more decay than reality could ever produce. There must be a longing by designers and players to immerse themselves within an environment of disintegrating, decaying objects. The author investigates the longing for decay along four threads that are informed by computer games history, art history, psychoanalytic reasoning and the concept of transmedia megatext.


ruins, digital dust, creative games, computer games history, psychoanalysis, philosophy of games, pathos formula, transmedia megatext

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26503/todigra.v3i2.68
Published by the Digital Games Research Association.