Playing with Shakespeare in Silent Hill 3 and Manhunt 2

From Reverence to Rejection


  • Andrei Nae University of Bucharest


Shakespeare, video games, silent hill, manhunt


This article analyses the manner in which two survival horror video games, Silent Hill 3 and Manhunt 2, remediate Shakespeare in their attempts to gain the legitimacy of art in the former case, or reject the association between video games and art in the latter case. Despite the radically different purposes behind the use of Shakespeare, the design of both games pays homage to a high-low culture distinction whereby Shakespeare’s status as a symbol of elite British culture is confirmed. Not only is Shakespeare’s canonical status reinforced, but the bard also benefits from these remediations by becoming accessible to a new audience, namely that of video game players. Because knowledge of Shakespeare can lead to a superior ludic or narrative experience of the games, familiarity with the plays is normalized. In this sense, Silent Hill 3 and Manhunt 2 serve the pedagogical function of ‘teaching’ Shakespeare to their players. In spite of these similarities, the two remediations feature a series of traits that undermine their opposing goals. Silent Hill 3’s remediation of Shakespeare is a materialist one that defies the Kantian aesthetics characterising traditional artistic adaptations of Shakespeare. On the other hand, Manhunt 2, which strives to reassert its opposition to art, features a more traditional use of Shakespeare that it employs The Tempest as a hypotext for its storyworld.

Author Biography

Andrei Nae, University of Bucharest

Andrei Nae, Ph.D., is Assistant Lecturer at the University of Bucharest where he teaches game studies and twentieth-century American literature. Between 2017 and 2019 he worked as key expert in the research project “Borderland Shakespeare” financed by UEFISCDI where he focused on digital remediations of Shakespeare. Since 2019, he has been the principal investigator and manager of the research project “Colonial Discourse in Video Games” financed by the same institution. He is also the author of Immersion, Narrative, and Gender Crisis in Survival Horror Video Games (Routledge, 2021).