Bloodborne: Gothic video game?

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Bloodborne: Gothic video game?

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1WeeTurtle
Editat: oct. 31, 2018, 4:50am

Hello there! With all the steeping in Gothic materials that I've been doing, I felt I needed to say something about Bloodborne. I'm one of those that feels that video games can reach a level where they can be called "art." Bloodborne is considered a "souls" game, along with the Dark Souls series, but it's the odd one out as it's setting is more modern and while Dark Souls gives homage to The Lord of the Rings (or so I'm told), Bloodborne is very much inspired by Lovecraft.

Bloodborne's basic premise is essentially a mystery as your character starts out with only a written clue "seek pale blood to transcend the hunt" which is something that is still up for debate as far as meaning. The player enters into the world from "the hunter's dream" which is a refuge you can retreat to when you die, and you die a lot. I would attempt to describe the plot, but I think that is better done by you-tuber VaatiVidya, who has a series on various characters and points in the game.

Here's his explanation of the story (it's half an hour, and also, super duper spoilers!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjWOy6ioVHI

This is a story of one character who is a boss the player must fight during the game. Here's where being a game adds some moments of interest to the material. Most of the bosses you fight go insane during the battle. Ludwig here seems to be the only one that gets more *sane* as the fight goes on. The person who created this added her own illustrations, but is using audio and lore from the game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S10cuCpyIjg

My only issue with Bloodborne is that, being a video game, it does limit the audience for the story.

2frahealee
Editat: oct. 31, 2018, 4:10am

In researching Algernon Blackwood and Clark Ashton Smith just now (on Wiki), this little morsel caught my eye;

"In the PS4 game Until Dawn, the main setting is named Blackwood Pines, as the main antagonist is a Wendigo."

Good to know the gothic is alive and well in these off-shoot forums! Game on! =)

3WeeTurtle
Editat: oct. 31, 2018, 5:05am

>2 frahealee: I've watched my niece and friend play Until Dawn. I didn't catch that name bit since I didn't know the author yet!

Fun fact! The story in Until Dawn takes place in Western Canada, and Blackwood Pines is based off Mount Washington. The standard locale for school ski trips!

Gothic makes a good genre for games given the atmospheric focus. Until Dawn is very much about atmosphere at the start, until things start happening.

4WeeTurtle
oct. 31, 2018, 5:44am

It's almost 3am. I'm going down the rabbit hole again.

Just found this video that looks at Bloodborne alongside Gothic Horror. What I like about it is how the guy talks about how the genre is enhanced by Bloodborne being a game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HW6_0rr1IG8 (yeah, spoilers).

5WeeTurtle
jul. 9, 2019, 12:56am

I found this and totally had to share it! (Okay, I didn't find thing. My friend who is much more up on these things found it and I checked it out and now have to share it.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eSrmSsz7mQ

There is a sequel to this song called "A Thousand Eyes." That one starts to tread into Weird territory.

6housefulofpaper
jul. 10, 2019, 3:21pm

This thread is an education for me - I have missed out on the last 40+ years of video games. We used to have a console that plugged into the television and let you play Pong...

>5 WeeTurtle: I was getting a bit of a Danny Elfman vibe from that track.

7WeeTurtle
Editat: jul. 13, 2019, 6:23am

>6 housefulofpaper: Yeah? I'll have to listen to it again (and a few more times, just to be sure. ;))

Video games have definitely increased in quality and relevancy. There are Skyrim jokes in main stream TV and culture, and I've heard part of it also has to do with the contemporary focus on geeks/nerds as being cool. Video games as objects of art and study is becoming a thing now as well. I'm impressed with how much effort people put into their fan works, like the music videos that these guys make (Miracle of Sound, Aviators, etc.) There's a fellow on youtube called "VaatiVidya" who makes lore videos to try and explain the plot and details behind the Souls Games (Demons Souls, Dark Souls 1, 2, & 4, and Bloodborne, collectively). I've heard that his videos are so popular the software company actually gives him the game footage to use to make them.

I think the first thing I started out with was Coleco, but I remember very little of it. I played mostly little Mac games like Helicopter and Gunpowder, then we got a PC, an IBM 486! Macs never returned.

I recently picked up Dark Souls: Beyond the Grave Volume 2: : Bloodborne - Dark Souls III, but haven't read it yet. I've got a few other academic leaning books on video games I intend to read.

8WeeTurtle
jul. 13, 2019, 8:49pm

>6 housefulofpaper: Yeah, I think there's essence of Batman soundtrack in there.

Listening to the songs I've been trying to interpret them (although I imagine they're explained somewhere. Gavin, from Miracle of Sound, has a podcast with a couple others called Podquisition, or so I'm told.)

"Paleblood" is a term I'm not too certain about but I think it refers to the player, or the role the player is filling. At the start of the game, you are receiving a blood transfusion from a character called Gehrman. It's implied (or I've assumed) that the blood transfusion allows the player to see the beasts they are hunting, and to join the hunter's dream, the place where hunters go when they are killed in "the waking world." When waking up afterward, you find a note that reads "seek Paleblood to transcend the hunt." Since the sequel song feels very much like it's coming from Gehrman (and a couple other hunters) I get the impression that the songs reflect Gehrman's desire to be free from the hunt. In that mind, I tend to think that note was written by Gehrman but it's not verified that I know of.

This is the second song and you can see where it shifts from Gothic to Weird. The stuff about the moon and eyes gets a little tricky to interpret. That's where Lovecraft comes to play.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0P1hhFt-nU&list=RD8eSrmSsz7mQ&index=2 (WARNING: much gore and creepy).

The eyes are a major reference point in the game, and connect to the game's insight mechanic. The more you see impossible things, the more you become aware that such things are around and you are able to see them. Sort of like how in the first video we see the abandoned baby carriage, but in the second video that baby carriage is watched over by an eldritch thing.

It's also interesting to note, that Ludwig, mentioned in the opening post, and whose skull shows up in the early frames of "A Thousand Eyes" has eyes lining portion of his deformed head in his boss fight. When they talk about eyes on the inside, it's meant literally. I like the two songs together because one feels like what you see when you being the game, and the other shows what's actually there.

Very much channeling Nietzsche here, as everything minus the eldritch were people to begin with. The hunters kill the beasts, but can also go insane. That story is shown directly between the characters Father Gascoigne (the figure with the blood-soaked hat whose face you don't entirely see), Eileen the Crow (who wears the feather cloak and plague mask that is popular for players to swipe ;)), and The Bloody Crow of Cainhurst (a masked character also in a black feathered cloak related to related to Eileen's story.)

I can get way too into these things!

9WeeTurtle
jul. 26, 2019, 5:37am

Continuing my penchant for getting way too into these things, I have to wonder if there's anything particularly Gothic about churches and cathedrals, etc. from a practical standpoint, or if it's an atmospheric thing? I wrote a short story a relative called very gothic which featured a cathedral, though it was abandoned. (It also had old roses and ravens and darkness and psychological mystery). Co-incidentally, this story was inspired by artwork from the Castlevania franchise, another video game series that could justifiably be called gothic what with the vampires and castles and thunder and darkness.

I'm curious, since in Bloodborne, "The Healing Church" is a faction that features rather heavily, having a lot to do with the state of things in the game, and (naturally) there being (mostly) abandoned cathedrals around. On the flip side of things, there are also the academic scholars at Byrgenerth, who started messing around with all this blood business. The blood and church thing reminds me of Dracula, especially with the transfusion (thinking scene from the film with Gary Oldman), and the academic bit brings to mind Victor Frankenstein, and the overall business of messing with things we probably shouldn't be. "Fear the old blood" and so on.

10housefulofpaper
ag. 3, 2019, 6:52pm

>9 WeeTurtle:

I've been pondering this for a few days now, on and off. A church or cathedral in the Gothic style will be Gothic, obviously, but I take it you're not making that trivial point. And, not all places of worship are Gothic in style, and not all Gothic buildings have an ecclesiastical function. So, does a Gothic church have a feeling about it that a Victorian town hall (for example) doesn't have...does it share a feeling of "Gothicness" (leaving aside for the moment how to define that) with a church in a Classical style, or a Modernist style, or with a Hindu temple or a mosque? Or does the Gothic feeling actually only inhere in the particular style and the function of the building is irrelevant?

I'm wary of making sweeping statements. The use of Gothic or Classical styles for churches in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries had more to do with fashion, and different denominations wishing to differentiate themselves from one another, than as expressions of unchanging elements of the human psyche.

11WeeTurtle
ag. 7, 2019, 5:59am

>10 housefulofpaper: I did a quick google check as I'm not that familiar with architectural styles, but the church I imagine would definitely lean Gothic I believe, but when I wrote the story I had no style in mind. I picked what I felt fit with the atmosphere I was making. In that sense, I was applying that style of cathedral architecture (and that it was a cathedral at all) to the feeling because they seemed to fit. It's possible that emotional fit was created from my previous exposure to those styles having been previously presented as embodying that mood.

Maybe it's also in part the urban nature. I can imagine a Gothic cathedral out in an open field but it would strike me as being out of place. I'd be more inclined to do that with an Onion domed building, or a temple. Crowded and dingy streets seem to go with dark an ominous buildings. Back to Bloodborne again, the game is very tightly packed in that streets are narrow and cluttered, and gates and paths go back on themselves in a way that can be claustrophobic and vulnerable feeling. Its hard to see what's coming when the alleys take sharp turns and the buildings are close and dark, but it's also hard to hide when there's gaps in the walls and more than one way inside a dilapidated building. This might have to do with all the urban things I've been reading of late. I guess it's all working with the human psyche.

I can't remember if books like Frankenstein or Dracula were contemporary novels or if they were intentionally set in different time frames. If they were contemporary, then I imagine some of the familiar architecture might have been used to take something familiar and give it an aspect of unease, and make the story more close to home for the reader.

12housefulofpaper
ag. 8, 2019, 7:13pm

>11 WeeTurtle:

...an Onion domed building... were you thinking of the church in In the Mouth of Madness? It's an incredibly striking image in that film - and in real life, I presume. I had assumed the onion domes signified an Orthodox church but a quick look online tells me that The Cathedral of the Transfiguration (Markham) is a Catholic place of worship. The history of church architecture is more complex than I'd assumed (of course it is!).

The Medieval European cathedrals towered over the other buildings around them, even if they were built in the middle of a city. But it most have always been crowded with commerce and vice around (and inside them).

Frankenstein (1818) and Dracula (1897) were both contemporary. Dracula could even be described as a Victorian techno-thriller - allowing for the centuries-old evil at its heart (creating a template for any number of '70s and '80s horror paperbacks, perhaps).