Straying from The Path Rethinking Culpability in “Little Red Riding Hood” through a Fairy Tale Video Game

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Ainjel Stephens


Once upon a time, in 2009, a video game was released by video game studio Tale of Tales and this game was called The Path.
Developed by Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn, they describe The Path as “an ancient tale retold in a modern medium” (“Games,”
2021). As a narrative, The Path is familiar: it follows the traditional tale type ATU 333, commonly known as “Little Red Riding Hood.” As a video game, The Path is unfamiliar. Described by the developers as a “slow game,” The Path does not have the typical objectives of
most video games: there are no “monsters to defeat” or “hard puzzles” to solve, and “most activities in the game are entirely optional” (“The Path,” 2021). With no challenges for the player, The Path focuses less on gameplay and more on narrative, taking the video game format and transforming it into an interactive storytelling experience. The focus on narrative above video game skill and play results in a game that “does not appeal to everyone” but for those who do enjoy it, the game “produces an intense emotional reaction”: players have described it as “unsettling,” “upsetting,” and “thought-provoking” (Ryan and Costello 2012, 113). These player reactions stem from The Path’s grim narrative of a young girl being attacked by a wolf—the standard plotline of ATU 333— but these emotions are amplified by the gameplay itself. What makes The Path stand out from other retellings of “Little Red Riding Hood” across various cultural mediums is not its narrative, nor its gameplay techniques, but rather how it is able to take a traditional, popular folktale and reinvent it through the interactivity of video games.

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Author Biography

Ainjel Stephens, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Ainjel Stephens is a PhD candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.