All the World’s a Game

By Brandon SwardOctober 30, 2023

All the World’s a Game
Brandon Sward unearths Nathan Wainstein’s review of Bloodborne in anticipation of Halloween:

During lockdown, I essentially reverted to my adolescent self. This meant getting back into speculative fiction and video games. I often describe these cultural products as changing the rules of reality to show some aspect of the human experience. The truth of the matter, however, is that speculative fiction and video games have become ever closer to reality themselves. As the rate of technological innovation increases exponentially, video games feel capable of traversing the uncanny valley. The presidency of Donald Trump seemed to follow the dystopian path imagined in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower (1993). In the other direction, “gamification” aims to turn everything into entertainment, and conspiracy theories like QAnon envision the world as some apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. This Samhain, when the membrane between worlds is thinnest, I find myself reflecting on Nathan Wainstein’s review of Bloodborne (2015) from earlier this year. His conclusions, I must admit, are positively spooky.

LARB Contributor

Brandon Sward is an artist, writer, and organizer in Los Angeles. He used to edit the LARB Short Takes section, and is currently at work on a book about growing up queer and biracial in Colorado Springs, the “Evangelical Vatican.”


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