Thought Experiments in Video Games: Exploring the (Un)Ethics of Motherhood in Frictional Games’ Amnesia: Rebirth


The essay explores the philosophical potential of Frictional Games’ Amnesia: Rebirth (2020), a survival science-fiction horror game, which heavily focuses on story elements and deeply explores the idea of motherhood—a subject matter rarely encountered in this medium. By offering the semblance of control over space and time, suturing the player to the first-person perspective of a character only to gradually problematize the very notion of acting and suspending choice via highlighting any option as an ethical impasse—revealing a neither/nor nature of gamic choice—the game transforms itself from a Deleuzian action-image to a time-image, from an image favoring action to the one that problematizes time. What is more, the game functions as a thought experiment, juxtaposing epistemology and ethics via the idea of motherhood, which is shown to be an ethical choice from the perspective of individual action but unethical from the perspective of temporality.