The City in Singleplayer Fantasy Role Playing Games

Vella Daniel Bonello Rutter Giappone Krista
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This paper considers cities in single-player fantasy role-playing games, identifying recurring tropes in terms of the spatial functions by which they shape the player’s lived experience of the gameworld. The functions of centring, demarcation of inside and outside, movement and encounter will be considered, both in terms of the spatial organizations determining them, and in terms of the spatial practices they give rise to. The analysis shall be anchored in a close engagement with a number of representative titles, including Baldur’s Gate, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Dragon Age: Origins, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt.


“Who Am ‘I’ in the Game?”: A Typology of the Modes of Ludic Subjectivity

Vella Daniel
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

In order to arrive at an understanding of the formal structures by which an ‘I’ is established for the player towards the gameworld, this paper proposes a typology of the various modes of ludic subject-positioning. It highlights the ways in which each mode of ludic subject-positioning uses specific formal mechanisms to structure the player’s experience of the gameworld around a particular subjective , presenting relevant examples in each case.


Modeling the Semiotic Structure of Game Characters

Vella Daniel
2014 DiGRA '14 - Proceedings of the 2014 DiGRA International Conference

When game studies has tackled the player-character, it has tended to do so by means of an oppositon to the notion of the avatar, with the result that the ontological and semiotic nature of the character in itself has not been given due attention. This paper draws on understandings of character from the fields of narratology and literary theory to highlight the double-layered ontology of character as both a possible individual and as a semiotic construction. Uri Margolin’s narratological model of character signification is used as the basis for developing a semiotic-structural model of the player-character that addresses its specific medialities and formal nature – a task which is performed through illustrative close examinations of the player-characters in The Last of Us (Naughty Dog 2013) and Gone Home (The Fullbright Company 2013).


Player and Figure: An Analysis of a Scene in Kentucky Route Zero

Vella Daniel
2014 DiGRA Nordic '14: Proceedings of the 2014 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

Discussions of the relation between the player and the figure under her control have identified a duality between the figure as ‘avatar’ and ‘character’. This paper argues that two separate dualities are being conflated: an ontological duality in the figure, by which it is both self and other for the player, and a duality in the player’s relation to it, which can be both subjective and objective. This insight is used as the basis for developing a two-axis model that identifies four aspects to the player-figure relation. This model is then put to work on a close analysis of a scene in Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer 2013), which will serve to demonstrate the dimensions of the player-figure relation.