Conference "Reconnecter un monde dévasté ? Représentation des enjeux environnementaux dans les jeux vidéo" (Reconnecting a Barren World? Representation of Environmental Issues in Video Games)

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April 8, 2022

As part of the lecture series "Le numérique à son miroir" (The Digital to Its Mirror), the University of Rouen-Normandy organises a conference on the representation of environmental issues in video games. Margot Mellet will give a lecture titled "Sacrifices must be made: Réflexions sur l'obsolescence dans le jeu Inscryption" (Sacrifices Must Be Made: Thoughts on Obsolescence in the Video Game Inscryption) at 9:10 a.m. (EST) online, here

My lecture proposes to analyze the theme of obsolescence in Inscryption, a deckbuilder and roguelike video game designed by Daniel Mullins and released by Devolver Digital in 2021. The game opens with a dark cabin where the player must beat a demonic force with cards to escape. This seemingly classic scenario is actually the surface of a complex story. The objective of the game is much deeper and more engaging: it is for the player to destroy the game or, in the narrative, to make him aware of the obsolescence of his own ecosystem.

Based on the principle of necessary sacrifice, the game is an entity in its own right that struggles to continue playing and thus to survive. This practical materialisation in the gameplay of the game's theme, associated with an aesthetic mixing vintage with horror codes (scenes filmed in found footage), carries a message about the obsolescence of a technology and a world mythology. Inscryption is the allegory of a sacrifice to be made of the obsolete digital transcendence (aggressive and intrusive entity in the image of Wells' World Brain). Faced with entities that intermittently take control, the player is made aware of their role: that of sacrificing the game to get out of it.

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