Book part:
Psychiatrische Kliniken als totale Institutionen in digitalen Spielen


Time and time again derelict psychiatric institutions and rogue inmates serve as settings and antagonists in cultural narratives, and digital games are no exception. The eeriness of exploring what Erving Goffman calls ›total institutions‹ and the tension of being confronted with the mentally ill orchestrate a persistent conflict between madness and reason. How this conflict is constructed on a narrative, aesthetic, and ludic level is the central focus of this article. The perspective applied leans heavily on discourse analysis to give a brief overview of contemporary ideas on mental illness and psychiatric institutions. Theoretically founded in Erving Goffman’s concept of total institutions, OUTLAST (Red Barrels, 2013) and THE TOWN OF LIGHT (LKA, 2016) are comparatively interpreted, concluding in the assumption that the perspective of both titles, while differing considerably, construct mirroring glances on psychiatric institutions and the madness within.

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Simond, Stefan Heinrich: Psychiatrische Kliniken als totale Institutionen in digitalen Spielen. In: Görgen, Arno;Simond, Stefan Heinrich: Krankheit in Digitalen Spielen. Interdisziplinäre Betrachtungen. Bielefeld: transcript 2020, S. 115-143. DOI:
 author = {Simond, Stefan Heinrich},
 title = {Psychiatrische Kliniken als totale Institutionen in digitalen Spielen},
 year = 2020,
 doi = "\url{}",
 editor = {Görgen, Arno and Simond, Stefan Heinrich},
 address = {Bielefeld},
 booktitle = {Krankheit in Digitalen Spielen. Interdisziplinäre Betrachtungen},
 pages = {115--143},
 publisher = {transcript},
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