Doctoral Dissertation

17.11.2018 M.A. Sari Piittinen (Facul­ty of Hu­ma­ni­ties and Social Sciences, English)


17.11.2018 12:00 — 15:00

Location: Mattilanniemi , Agora Auditorio 3
M.A. Sari Piittinen defends her doctoral dissertation in English: "Reconstructing the Gothic in Games and Gaming: Gothinc monsters and ideology in the story world and player experiences of Fallout 3".

Opponent Lecturer, PhD Jaroslav Švelch (Univerzita Karlova, Universitetet i Bergen) and Custos Professor Sirpa Leppänen (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English.


Piittinen's article-based dissertation examines how traditional Gothic elements are reconstructed in games and how players experience Gothic monsters through analysis of the action role-playing game Fallout 3 and Let's Play gaming videos on YouTube.

The study shows that continued exposure to Gothic elements in the game influences the way that players read the game. That is, becoming betrayed and witnessing injustices make the player suspicious of game characters and their intentions.

Since players cannot trust what the game world and its characters portray as 'right' or 'wrong', they must take sole responsibility for solving moral dilemmas. Thus, a sense of uncertainty and an untrusting or paranoid approach to reading the game is found to be central to Gothicity in games, as well as the necessity to actively and independently evaluate the morality of game events.

The study demonstrates how Gothicity makes it possible for players to face difficult societal issues like othering and the cyclicality of violence in human history from a safe distance by placing horrifying elements in alternative timelines.

The results have implications for game design, and for the continued construction of an understanding of games as a part of their surrounding cultural context and the Gothic as an important part of contemporary storytelling.

The game Fallout 3 was analysed with the method of close reading. Player experiences were analysed through transcribed player narration collected from gameplay videos of Fallout 3. They were analysed with methods from discourse analysis and stance-taking from the viewpoint of sociolinguistics.