Our past explorations of procedural generation have confronted the tensions between design of the unknown and its representation. For Spelunky to live, death had to lose its way in the winding tunnels, while the more procedural whims of King of Dragon Pass could only be left as whispers of barbarian gods.
In Darkest Dungeon, the unknowable becomes the unthinkable, an ostinato of Lovecraftian terror that taxes the player as much as the characters that they lead into the darkness. Much of the conversation surrounding this game has centered on the human cost, the stresses and quirks that the characters accumulate as they try to survive their adventures as well as the quiet respite that follows them. But is it possible that the dungeon itself is a better metaphor for the unthinkable than the scars that it leaves upon its travelers?
We’ll meet to explore the horrors of the unknown on Thursday, February 5th at 9:30pm EDT / 6:30pm PDT on voice chat over our venerable Skype chat, opulent and imperial.
- Austin Walker’s examination of how Darkest Dungeon represents mental illness as a mechanic (Paste).
- Amsel von Spreckelsen’s critique of the same.