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Paratextual Play: Unlocking the Nature of Making-of Material of Games
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG
Similar as to how films are accompanied with bonus features and extras on their dvd release, digital games too are sometimes released with supplemental materials which provide insight in the creative development process. Examples of these are behind-the-scenes documentaries, concept art, audio commentaries, and so on. In the study of digital games this material could easily be overlooked or primarily seen as marketing material outside and therefore not part of a game itself. This paper will discuss a shift in the paratextual location and function of making-of material from an external to internal or even integral part of the digital game experience. In some contemporary games, making-of material has become a feature which has a visible presence during play, and at times can only be accessed by unlocking them, which invites players to forms of paratextual play. In these play situations, paratext and text entangle, resulting not just in a potential shaping of the understanding but also of the playing of digital games, making them part of players’ gaming capital. By engaging with this type of making-of material, players are not just framed as knowledgeable insider in the creative process of game design but also acknowledged expert in terms of gaming prowess, requiring us to rethink how we approach making-of material as paratexts.