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The JokerA Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime$
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Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628462388

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628462388.001.0001

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Playing (with) the Villain

Playing (with) the Villain

Critical Play and the Joker-as-Guide in Batman: Arkham Asylum

Chapter:
(p.129) Playing (with) the Villain
Source:
The Joker
Author(s):

Kristin M. S. Bezio

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628462388.003.0009

Kristin M.S. Bezio asks us to enter Arkham Asylum, more or less literally, as players of the eponymous 2009 video game produced by Rocksteady. In her analysis, Bezio carefully outlines how the Joker acts not only as a villain but also as a guide, a situation that puts the player in the awkward position of following him through the Arkham maze. Engaging Derridean notions of the “nonspecies” and Bakhtin’s analysis of the “carnival,” Bezio argues that Batman: Arkham Asylum opens up in the process a more stimulating – because far less stable – ludic environment, one which ultimately is contained by the Joker’s game-ending decision to meet Batman in combat: “By agreeing to meet Batman on his own terms, the Joker has forsaken the only thing that gave him any power – after all, the Joker’s goal in manipulating Batman is not to destroy Batman, but to force him ‘to see the world as I see it.’”

Keywords:   Arkham Asylum, Video Game, Joker, Nonspecies, Carnival

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