Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Research Project


Literary scholars have recently expanded their focus to include emerging media such as video games as literary texts. In particular, these scholars study how video games create an immersive experience with active agency for players. However, there has been little study of horror video games in this rapidly growing line of inquiry. Accordingly, this paper presents a feminist, trauma-informed reading on the horror video game Silent Hill (1999), with further consideration of the subsequent American film adaptation Silent Hill (2006). This exploration outlines the ways by which trauma organizes an active experience for players. In doing so, this examination applies Cathy Caruth’s foundational theory of how trauma manifests in literature as something unknown, as well as how literature attempts to explore this unknown terrain. I conclude that the film adaptation attempts to but does not successfully encapsulate a traumatic experience in the immersive way the original game does, given the player’s active role in exploring trauma. In support of this argument, the paper outlines how involving the player in puzzle-solving and the symbolism of the landscape enable the game to mimic traumatic experiences and create a connection between the player and the game’s characters not possible in the medium of film.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.