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In the modern era, video games are hardly the simple, mindless medium that they used to be. Rather, they are now being used as a vehicle for artistic expression and storytelling worldwide, creating a colorful and comprehensive new approach to the storytelling experience that was previously reserved for books or movies. The immersive nature of the medium provides for a richer and more stimulating experience, from which the genre of horror greatly benefits. Rather than the more passive experience the viewer gets from watching a movie or reading a book, video games allow for the player to be completely immersed, experiencing the story rather than just witnessing it. This general aspect combined with the opportunity for unique artistic expression and storytelling, provides for a better overall horror experience. Within the horror genre, there are two schools of storytelling: the Eastern Style (primarily from Japan and countries in the Far East), and the Western Style (particularly the United States). These styles are both unique with their approaches to the genre, begging the question: what do different cultures find scary? Through careful analysis of the Eastern and Western styles, we can understand the characteristics and unique components, identifying the reasoning behind them. An examination of broader social implications in the areas of religion, history, and psychology, will expand the scope of the digital media studies, providing a greater understanding of the continued evolution of human storytelling. The evolution and future possibilities of storytelling are explored in this study by examining the techniques and implications specific to these two identified schools within the horror genre of video games.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

English, Digital Humanities


video games, video games as literature, digital humanities, digital text


Comparative Literature | Digital Humanities | Other English Language and Literature

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Brian McTague


© The Author(s)

Of Shining Sea and Rising Sun: cultural storytelling in the genre of horror in video games