The Skull in Video Games

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recorn: Ubisoft Red Storm, 2012

22/5/12 – EB Games

I walked into EB Games the other day and there were lots of Xbox or playstation games with the image of the skull. I noticed an entire section, which was completely covered with the image of the skull, which I found particularly interesting.

Slavoj Zizek discusses ‘the real’ and the ‘fantasmatic image’ in relation to Popular Culture. Zizek argues that the “fantasmatic shield ” exposes internal thoughts or desires, which also protects society from the real. (Slavoj, 2000 p.498)

According to Zizek ‘cyberspace’ generates virtual imagery, which also allows society to become familiar with reality. Zizek argues that video games for instance generate virtual representations of the war, which protects the public from actual photographs or images of the war that have become too confronting or offensive. One could argue that society uses simulated representations to develop an understanding of reality, which also questions whether postmodernism has distorted the real or the ‘actual’ image?

Gears of War 3: Epic Games, 2011

In relation to Deleuze’s theories of the ‘actual’ and the ‘virtual’ image, perhaps society have become accustomed to the virtual image instead of the actual image. Observing a real human skull for instance may generate a different emotional response compared to a representation of a skull.

Perhaps criminal investigation shows or horror films provide simulated representations of a corpse in order to provide society with a familiarity with death. Have society become sensitised to the actual image and desensitised to the ‘virtual’?

Deleuze, Gillies. “The Crystals of Time” in Cinema 2: The Time – Image, Trans, Hugh Tomlinson & Robert Galeta.  London: Continuum, 2005

Zizek, Slavoj. The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime: On David Lynch’s Lost Highway.  Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000 p.482 – 507

Image Citations:

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