This study explores the method of representation of traumatic history in 2D horror game Detention developed by Taiwan game production company Red Candle through an analysis of its method of storytelling. Unlike conventional public media, video/digital games are based on interactivity, in which game players engage in the narratives. Thus, the relationship between players and the history in the game world may also change. This research investigates how the players build their way of remembering and recognizing the past in a different relationship.
Detention, which was well received, not only in Taiwan but also around the world upon its launch in 2017, is set in a middle school during the martial law era in Taiwan in the 1960s. In the game, the main character encounters her lost memories in the process of following clues and game rules, and finally realizes she is implicated in the 1960s’ event. Detention was cinematized after the success of the game. The film achieved enormous popularity both in terms of box office success and criticism. In this paper, the strategy of the game’s storytelling is introduced in comparison to the film’s approach in the representation of historical events. In particular, the paper explores elements such as the interactivity of the game medium, narrative fragmentation, quests, hints and cues, and the horror genre, that asks users to understand history beyond the game world differently from the point of view of other media.
Though this study, it can be considered that the digital game is a medium exploring history in a serious manner. In particular, Detention invokes the matter of game-mnemonics as well as cine-mnemonics. Compared to plentiful research in cine-mnemonics, game-mnemonics has not been extensively studied to date. Therefore, through the analysis of Detention, this paper explores the relationship between digital games, history and memory.