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Perron, Bernard [to be published in 2013]. Silent Hill: le moteur de la terreur, Questions théoriques, Paris.

Perron, Bernard, Richard Bégin and Lucie Roy (eds.) [2012]. Figures de violence, Coll. Esthétiques, L’Harmattan, Paris.

Perron, Bernard [2012]. Silent Hill: The Terror Engine, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor (MI).

Silent Hill: The Terror Engine, the second of the two inaugural studies in the Landmark Video Games series from series editors Mark J. P. Wolf and Bernard Perron, is both a close analysis of the first three Silent Hill games and a general look at the whole series. Silent Hill, with its first title released in 1999, is one of the most influential of the horror video game series. Perron situates the games within the survival horror genre, both by looking at the history of the genre and by comparing Silent Hill with such important forerunners as Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil. Taking a transmedia approach and underlining the designer's cinematic and literary influences, he uses the narrative structure; the techniques of imagery, sound, and music employed; the game mechanics; and the fiction, artifact, and gameplay emotions elicited by the games to explore the specific fears survival horror games are designed to provoke and how the experience as a whole has made the Silent Hill series one of the major landmarks of video game history.

Perron, Bernard, Dominic Arsenault, Martin Picard, Guillaume Roux-Girard and Carl Therrien (eds.) [2010]. Loading... Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association, Special Issue – Thinking After Dark: Welcome to the World of Horror Video Games, april.

Perron, Bernard (ed.) [2009]. Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play, McFarland, Jefferson (N.C).

In this in-depth critical and theoretical analysis of the horror genre in video games, 14 essays explore the cultural underpinnings of horror's allure for gamers and the evolution of "survival" themes. The techniques and story effects of specific games such as Resident Evil, Call of Cthulhu and Silent Hill are examined individually.

Perron, Bernard [2006]. Silent Hill : Il motore del terrore, Costa & Nolan, Milan.

Bernard Perron's investigation of Konami's survival horror series goes beyond the usual compare-and-contrast approaches with other similar texts, e.g. Resident Evil and Alone in the Dark. His transmedia analysis takes the reader for a literary, cinematic, and ludic journey they won't forget.
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Book chapters and papers

Perron, Bernard [to be published in 2013]. "Drawing (to) Fear and Horror: Into the Frame of Clive Barker’s The Midnight Meat Train and Dread Comic and Film Adaptations", Clive Barker: the Dark Imaginer, UK.

Perron, Bernard [to be published in 2013]. "Effrayantes aventures dans le champ aveugle du jeu vidéo et du cinéma d’horreur", Les Cahiers du jeu vidéo (Paris), Jeu vidéo et cinéma, No 4.

Perron, Bernard and Guillaume Roux-Girard [2012]. "Entre synchronisation et action: son et violence dans les jeux vidéo d'horreur", Figures de violence (R. Bégin, B. Perron and L. Roy, eds.), L’Harmattan, Paris.

Roux-Girard, Guillaume [2011]. "Listening to Fear: A Study of Sound in Horror Computer Games", Game Sound Technology and Player Interaction: Concepts and Developments (M. Grimshaw, ed.), IGI Global, Hershey (P.A), p. 192-212. [PDF]

Perron, Bernard [2010]. "Fatal Frame ou la hantise vidéoludique", CIAC's Electronic Magazine, Le Web hanté, No 38, November. [online]

Perron, Bernard [2009]. "The Survival Horror: The Extended Body Genre", Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play (B. Perron, ed.), McFarland, Jefferson (N.C), p. 121-143.

Picard, Martin [2009]. "Haunting Backgrounds: Transnationality and Intermediality in Japanese Survival Horror Video Games", Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play (B. Perron, ed.), McFarland, Jefferson (N.C), p. 95-120.

Roux-Girard, Guillaume [2009]. "Plunged Alone into Darkness: Evolution in the Staging of Fear in the Alone in the Dark Series", Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play (B. Perron, ed.), McFarland, Jefferson (N.C), p. 145-167.

Therrien, Carl [2009]. "Games of Fear. A Multi-Faceted Historical Account of the Horror Genre in Video Games", Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play (B. Perron, ed.), McFarland, Jefferson (N.C), p. 26-45.

Perron, Bernard [2008]. «Dal film al gioco: l’esperienza forzata di paura», in M. Bittanti (dir.), Schermi interattivi. Saggi critici su videogiochi & cinema, Rome : Meltemi, p. 233-259;

Perron, Bernard [2007]. "Anaconda, a Snakes and Ladders Game. Horror Film and the Notions of Stereotype, Fun and Play", Journal of Moving Image Studies, Vol. 5 No 1, December, p. 20-30. [PDF]

In a chapter of her book Les idées reçues. Sémiologie du stéréotype (1991), Ruth Amossy deals with the industrialization of the fear and associates the fiction of terror to play and games. It is precisely this relationship between stereotype (a monster hiding behind every sign once said Barthes) and playfulness that this paper will wish to clarify. Borrowing concepts from social cognition, cognitive psychology, literature studies and theory of play, it will study the details of this "repetition within the diversity that insures the effect of the stereotype" (Amossy).

To do so, this paper will make a textual analysis of the genre film Anaconda (Luis Llosa, 1997). Furthermore, it will show how this film, introducing as the monster a huge snake, is designed as a sort of snakes and ladders game. It will demonstrate how stereotyped characters, here the documentary film crew - composed in particular of one Hispano-American director, one Black-American cinematographer, one British narrator and one White-American scientist -, are pawns that the director can "move". Following or perverting specific genre rules known by the spectator, those "moves" are also intended to make the latter "move around" the space or, to be more precise, the playground circumscribed by the fiction, i.e. the Amazon River. For instance, some moves, which could be called ladders-displacements, will make the characters and the narrative stride along, while snakes-displacements will eliminate pawns or thwart expectations.

This paper will conclude be showing the generalization of this design regarding the horror and the monster movies (the Snakes and Ladders displacements analogy can obviously be applied to other movies that do not have a snake as monster) and underlining that it is finally in a playful or ludic exchange that stereotypes take all their values.

Perron, Bernard [2006]. "The Heuristic Circle of Gameplay : the Case of Survival Horror", Medi@terra 2006 Conference Proceedings, Athens, p. 62-71. [PDF]

Based on a previous analysis of the cognitive interactivity of movie viewing, this paper examines the circularity at the core of the gameplay experience. Taking the survival horror genre, and more particularly the game Cold Fear, as a case study, it describes the activity as a heuristic circle. If playing a videogame is stepping into a magic circle as Huizinga phrased it, it is also engaging in a magic cycle of questions and answers, of analysis and implementation, of input and output.

Perron, Bernard [2006]. "Quand le brouillard se dissipe : Silent Hill, le film", Ciné-Bulles (Montréal), Vol 24 No 4, Fall, p. 42-47. [PDF]

Perron, Bernard [2005]. "Coming to Play at Frightening Yourself : Welcome to the World of Horror Games", Aesthetics of Play. A Conference on Computer Game Aesthetics, University of Bergen, Norway. [online] [PDF]

From Haunted House (Atari, 1981) to Alone in the Dark (I-Motion Inc. & Infogrames/Interplay, 1992) , and from Phantasmagoria (Sierra, 1995) to Resident Evil 4 (Capcom, 2005), this paper will study how horror video games scare or rather, how it prompts us the frighten ourselves. Inevitably, it will be impossible to ignore the remediation of the cinematic aesthetic and tricks. While those links are important, it is what the interactivity brings to the genre that will be examined. Because a dark alley, a door slightly opened, a freaky noise in the distance or the actual one-to-one confrontation with a monster are not only fictional horror signs, they are above all cues to act, to gain or lose control. For instance, the flickering lights and thunderclaps of Haunted House or the flashlight device in Silent Hill (Konami, 1990) not only create a spooky atmosphere, it precisely constraints the field of vision of the gamer in order to give him even more a sense of insecurity. The same thing can be said about the framing in Resident Evil . As the startle effect is as effective in games than in movies, it is trigged by the movement of the gamer in the former. The active coping potentials of the gamer is therefore at the core of the horror or terror experience. Not to mention the forewarning system that I have studied before (COSIGN 2004), i t is then relevant to examine devices such as the Panic Meter of Clock Tower 3 (Capcom, 2003) that sees the avatar act increasingly erratically as it rises, to the point where she is not responding to commands anymore, or the Sanity Meter of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (Silicon Knights/Nintendo, 2002) which, once it falls very low, makes weird things happened to your avatars, game-world, and television set and console.

Perron, Bernard [2004]. "Sign of a Threat : The Effects of Warning Systems in Survival Horror Games", COSIGN 2004 Proceedings, Art Academy, University of Split, p. 132-141. [en ligne] [PDF]

This paper studies the way survival horror games are designed to frighten and scare the gamer. Comparing video games and movies, the experiential state of the gamer and that of the spectator, as well as the shock of surprise and tension of suspense, it focuses on the effects of forewarning on the emotional responses to survival horror games.
Perron, Bernard [1995]. "Une machine à faire penser", Iris (Iowa City and Paris), La notion de genre au cinéma, Vol 20, Fall, p. 76-84. [PDF]

Barthélémy Amengual définit un genre comme une "machine à faire penser". Certes, dans la mesure où un film de genre est vu comme un récit préfabriqué qui suppose un ensemble de conventions et d'attentes, il est pertinent d'étudier les processus perceptifs et cognitifs mobilisés (consciemment ou non) durant le visionnement d'un film. Analysant House de Steve Miner (1986), l'auteur montre comment le spectateur est constamment engagé dans un cycle perceptivo-cognitif pendant qu'il produit du sens et prend plaisir au sein d'un genre cinématographique et du cinéma narratif en général. Durant ce cycle perceptivo-cognitif, le mode de perception top-down demeure le plus significatif. En bout de ligne, l'auteur souligne que l'espace fondamentalement ludique du genre (et de tout le cinéma narratif) est généralement toujours le théâtre d'un affrontement entre le réalisateur et le spectateur.

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Master and doctoral theses


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Relevant links

Chris' Survival Horror Quest
Database, reviews and discussion forum around horror video games.