Conference paper Open Access

Pure Vessels: The Insect and the Other in Dark Souls and Hollow Knight

Stein, Eric

FromSoftware’s Dark Souls games (2011, 2014, 2016) and their spiritual successor, Bloodborne (2015), have creatively, and often subversively, utilized insectoid figures as key elements in their worlds, disrupting normative hierarchies of meaning and being throughout the fictional realms of Lordran, Drangleic, Yharnam, and Lothric. Even more obvious is the work undertaken in Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight (2017), an acclaimed “soulslike/metroidvania” that takes place in an entirely subterranean world populated by insects. In games intimately concerned with the status of “humanity,” insects serve as both potent metaphors and actual agents of transformation, presenting us with an alterity that goes beyond the dialectic of same and other, identity and difference, to a real of generic and finite particularity.

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