“Machines were sexy, monsters were really about sex” – Alien creator HR Giger’s influence on games

By Brenna Hillier, Monday, 19 May 2014 04:36 GMT

Swiss artist HR Giger passed away last week after a fall, but his legacy lives on in video games far beyond the reach of the Alien franchise.

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Giger’s body of surreal artwork has had a massive impact on the art world, but to gamers and geeks he’s best known as the designer of the xenomorphs in the Alien film franchise.

His impact on our world doesn’t end there, though, and a wonderful piece in The Guardian lists some of the titles clearly heavily influenced by the groundbreaking Giger’s twisted, sexualised and deeply frightening monsters.

Giger contributed directly to two video games, Dark Seed and Dark Seed 2 (which came from the same developer as I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, Cyberdreams) but author Keith Stuart argues you can see his touch in Doom, Half-Life, Resident Evil, R-Type and many more.

Stuart believes Giger was one of the first to show game designers a link between fantasy horror and sci-fi, providing rich vein of nightmare fuel which will be mined for generations to come.

“His art visualised the human-machine interfacing of cyberpunk, and it saw the crossover as one of sexual rather than intellectual-technological coupling. He gave game designers permission to play with erotic, even perverse, imagery within the sometimes staid, antiseptic confines of popular science fiction,” Stuart wrote.

“Through Alien, he sent designers and gamers scuttling to the library to look up Kleinian and Lacanian preoedipal mothers and Barbara Creed’s monstrous feminine. He said machines were sexy, but not in the way that car manufacturers wanted us to think; and he said monsters were really about sex.

“As long as there are game designers, there will be well-thumbed copies of Giger’s Necronomicon book, and dark ideas for monsters that don’t really come from outer space but from ourselves.”

Fascinating stuff; hit the link above to read more.

The next Alien game is the Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation, which draws heavily on the original 1979 film for its aesthetic, and is due on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in early October.

Thanks, Critical Distance.

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