The Metaphor of Anabatic and Catabatic Movement in Virtual Space in the Video Games Cursed mountain, Kholat, and Call of Cthulhu

Folkloristics 8/1-2 (2023):
Author: Kristina Dimovska

The video games Cursed mountain (2009), Kholat (2015), and Call of Cthulhu(2018) have been taken as exemplary in order to test the main hypothesis that anabatic movement, i.e., bottom-up, is characteristic for the movement of the protagonist/player in the virtual space in the first two video games, and that catabatic movement, i.e., top-down, is more prominent in the last of the three video games.
However, given that all the protagonists deal with symbolic death (not actually dying but being in atmospheric conditions that almost get them killed), it can be claimed that a concrete, physical anabatic movement in virtual space can also be seen as a metaphorical catabatic movement, or as an experience of a symbolic death. Neither Eric Simmons (Cursed mountain) nor the unnamed protagonist (Kholat) really die, but they are constantly faced with death (the possibility of Frank’s death in the former, and the failed expedition of Dyatlov in the latter).
Call of Cthulhu has an inverted movement dynamic: it is mostly catabatic, with the exception of the game’s finale, but this factual catabatic movement can be read as a metaphorical jump upwards, a jump that transforms ignorance to knowledge, but also sanity to insanity.

Keywords: video games, anabatic, catabatic, virtual space, urban folklore, hypotext and hypertext.