British Journal of Chinese Studies

dragon mural beijing 2018 copyright Gerda Wielander
Vol 12 No 2 (2022): Games and Gaming in China and the Sinophone World

From Detention to Devotion: Historical Horror and Gaming Politics in Taiwan

Chia-Rong Wu
University of Canterbury
Published August 2, 2022
How to Cite
Wu, C.-R. (2022). From Detention to Devotion. British Journal of Chinese Studies, 12(2), 46-62.


This article provides a theoretical review of Detention (Fanxiao 返校) and Devotion (Huanyuan 還願) by Red Candle Games. The international recognition received by these two horror video games is unprecedented in the history of Taiwan. The first part of the article surveys the design and production of the two horror-themed games, both set in the Martial Law period of the island-state. While Detention combines individual and collective memories of the White Terror and the dreadful atrocities committed by the Kuomingtang (KMT) government during the 1960s, Devotion is centred on the parent-child relationship and religious frenzy on the island in the early 1980s, with a focus on a small Taiwanese family. Both games insightfully capture the representation of horror in response to socio-political turmoil and cult culture in the specific historical contexts of the local community. In the second part, the article addresses the issue of how the two video games subtly speak to local and cross-Strait politics via the horror genre. Through a Sinophone lens, this article brings into focus the complex representation of gaming politics and examines how Red Candle Games repackages and revitalizes the horror genre in the videoludic world.

Image: Promotional image for Detention (Red Candle Games, 2017)

  • Detention,
  • Devotion,
  • horror video games,
  • gaming politics,
  • Taiwan,
  • White Terror,
  • Martial Law
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