The international conference “Thinking After Dark: Welcome to the World of Horror Video Games” unites scholars who all study a corpus that has been left out up to now: horror video games. Considering the relatively slow progress of generic studies among the recent surge of academic interest towards video games, this event represents a major first step. In order to map out the realm of horror video games, the conference favors an intermedial study of manifestations of horror in other cultural practices (literary and cinematographic).

In what ways do video games reuse the narrative strategies of novels or the staging of horror developed in movies? Are the social implications of the phenomenon similar on both sides? It will also be the occasion to shed light on the specificity of a ludic genre known as survival horror, and to propose the necessary theoretical tools to do a comparative study of ludic genres. Is it possible to find overarching gameplay patterns across the whole spectrum of horror video games, and figures of interactivity specific to the survival horror subgenre?

The conference will be held in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) from the 23rd to the 25th of April 2009 under the supervision of the Ludicine research team from the University of Montreal, in collaboration with the GRAFICS (Research Group on the Creation and Formation of Cinematographic and Theatrical Institutions) from the University of Montreal, the NT2 Laboratory (Studies on Hypermedia Art and Literature) from the University of Quebec in Montreal, and the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada).

Conference Theme Song ("After Dark") [Download]

Song lyrics

(Jonathan Dagenais: Songwriting, keyboards and production
Yannick Desgroseillers: Songwriting and guitars
Dominic Arsenault: Lyrics and vocals)

After Dark
Welcome to the World of Horror
“Bizarre murders committed in Raccoon City”
“Horror in Raccoon. More victims dead.”
“Special Tactics And Rescue Service sent to save Raccoon City”

Hallways desecrated
I’ve got to find a way out of here
Corpses desiccated
I struggle around but cannot find anyone alive
Locked in this fight to survive
A cover-up meant to hide these lies
Self-regulated experimental suicide

What is there left for me to search for?
What is the sense of it all?
I’ve got to finally face my fear

Fear unrelenting
Chilling claws that grip and twist down my spine
Shadows shifting around these halls of stone
I can’t breathe
I can feel I’m about to choke
Mouth agape at the horrors unseen
Yet nothing comes out but a broken, silent scream

Lost in the mist
So far from home
My girl, she’s all alone
Somewhere out in the cold

Something’s stirring from just
Outside my line of sight
In darkness they dwell
They’re waiting for me
To take a false and final step

Restless nightmares twisting
This town into abyss
Dazed and confused I can never know
When the dream becomes reality

Daylight dissipating
The world around me slowly disappears
I can hear
the calling of these games I’ve come to crave

(Gaming After Dark)
Gaming After Dark

Nothing comes close to the terrorized screams
And the horrifying scenes that I’ve seen on the screen

Will I ever find the answers
To this never-ending feeling inside

(It’s Fright, Flight or Fight)

I need to understand the cold sweat
running down my hands from fictional threats

When the sunset comes I’ll be left wanting
Thinking After Dark

GRAFICS    Ludicine    NT2     SSHRC     Université de Montréal     Centre de Recherche sur l'Intermédialité