Bloodmoon Episode 1: BloodRayne Part 1


Today's video over at my channel is the first in a new series featuring full playthroughs of a number of different video games, all centred around the same set of themes and motifs. These will probably be split up into 15-30 minute episodes of pure gameplay footage. First up, the original BloodRayne from 2002, which was available on the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, XBOX and PC. I'm playing the PC version, modded for controller support and widescreen HD resolutions. Now I know this perhaps doesn't seem like the kind of game I typically like to talk about and some of you might have questions about that, but all I can say right now is to please trust me-I'm going somewhere with this :-)

Edited text from the video description:

Bloodmoon is a series that looks at the evolution and apotheosis of specific themes and archetypes throughout various video games via the medium of full playthroughs with open discussion prompts.
Questions and observations:
Why does the intro cinematic seem to be, at first, trying to mislead us into thinking Rayne is a villainous monster when it would have been immediately obvious to anyone buying this game that she was the protagonist?
Rayne's look and general persona are derived from that of a classical dominatrix. What BDSM themes, if any, can you find in the game going forward and what ramifications does this have for how we should read it?
According to the game's official backstory, during this opening tutorial sequence Rayne is technically only still a teenager. Do you think this influences how Laura Bailey chooses to play her?
In Romanian folklore, where such legends are almost exclusively derived, the traditional name for creatures like Rayne is not "vampire", but "strigoi" (thought to be derived from the Greek "strix", which referred to a nocturnal bird of ill omen). Only male strigoi would have been comparable to what we think of as vampires: Rayne, being female, would specifically be a "strigoaică", which simply connotes a witch or sorceress. Of course, an important part of the game's story is that Rayne is only *half* vampire, or "dhampir", a reference to Balkan folklore which emphasized male vampires' patriarchal lust to dominate women.
Much modern American art and folklore is inspired by places such as the Louisiana Bayou and Mississippi Delta region and is about coming to terms with its place in the nation's collective consciousness. The birthplace of the blues, the only true musical style invented by the United States and home to the deepest of the deep South, and all that goes along with that, many would argue this region is the "real" heartland of the United States.
In Neopaganism and Wicca, the Moon, especially when full, is associated with the power of the Sacred Feminine. However, myopic and appropriative beliefs stemming from the ubiquity of these schools have misled people into thinking the Sun is "always" masculine and the Moon is *always* feminine, even though Solar Goddesses have been prominent in many cultures throughout history. Might the zealousness with which the modern belief in the Lunar Feminine has taken hold be interesting to read in the context of the Moon tending to rule the "dark" half of the day, and thus over secrets and hidden things?
Mods used:
I've got a full hour of footage recorded, so I'll release that in chunks over the next few weeks. Next time I record I need to do some work with managing save files as I have a pre-existing save on this install I don't want to overwrite, but I'll deal with that when the time comes. In the meantime, hope you enjoyed the video, hope you got something out of it, and I'll see you next time.


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Josh Marsfelder 1 year ago

There are a few reasons I went for this approach.

One, I've seen a lot of pushback against the personality- and fame-driven Let's Play formula lately. I've heard a lot of people complain about just wanting to watch gameplay footage with no commentary to help them decide whether or not they'd be interested in a game, or to help them get through a tough area. I thought I could provide that. Along those lines, for full playthroughs I'm inclined to let the game speak for itself: For someone who's never played video games and is unlikely to (which is a big demographic I'm trying to reach), I thought seeing a version of the game in action where the draw is the gameply itself, not the personality of the videographer, might be something they'd be interested in. Originally what I had planned to do was spice this up with diegetic textual commentary to get people to think about what the game is doing and saying while they were watching it.

The problem is YouTube has now made it difficult (if not impossible) to do everything I wanted to do with this setup. I'd initially wanted to make the videos interactive, with onscreen annotations you'd click to reveal clues and prompts at key moments you were supposed to engage with and work through, both to make it something *slightly* more than just pure gameplay footage, as well as to simulate the idea of interacting with a piece of art at a motor level for people unfamiliar with the concept. Thing is, YouTube removed the ability to add annotations to videos literally as soon as I started my channel, at which point it was too late to turn back. Hence the prompts and questions, which I freely admit are a far less than satisfying replacement for the original concept.

I actually talk about this a bit in my commentary on the Spelunx and the Caves of Mr. Seudo video:

If anyone has ideas on how to make this flow better I'm certainly open to hearing them. But right now this is the best I can come up with I'm afraid.

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Gilly 1 year ago

Going off of the first question, I can't help but think that it's to do with allowing the player a sense of being "monstered". What I mean is, a lot of subcultures (goth comes to mind) embrace being aesthetically monstrous as something that is a) not necessarily evil and b) liberating (I get the feeling Jack, Jed and/or Sam Keeper have written something on this)

I think the BDSM aspect could come into this as well. While a lot of subcultures either sexualise or "monster", coding the main character as a dominatrix allows for the synthesis of the two, allowing someone to be sexy whilst also rejecting many default assumptions of that sexuality and retaining the power fantasy aspect.

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Josh Marsfelder 1 year ago

I really like this reading :-)

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