Markers of Subjective Perception in Larp

Mochocki Michał
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

Based on J.-N. Thon's (2016) framework for analysing representations of character's subjective perception in film, video games and comic books, this paper studies representations of subjectivity in live-action role-playing. This is a direct continuation of two previous papers, one positioning larp as a narrative medium in the context of transmedia narratology, the other researching storyworld representation / interpretation by larp participants. The hereby presented text focuses on markers of subjectivity, their three types (narratorial, content, and representational) defined by Thon and the fourth (metasymbolic) by myself. The discussion is organised in three parts, corresponding with Thon's types of subjectivity: (quasi-)perceptual point of view, (quasi-)perceptual overlay, and internal worlds. The analysis confirms Thon's observations about the transmediality of some of the markers (e.g. the use of narratorial markers in larp is very similar to their use in (audio)visual media), and reveals the larp-specific nature and/or larp-specific usage of other markers.


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).


Ludology, Narratology and Philosophical Hermeneutics

Arjoranta Jonne, Karhulahti Veli-Matti
2014 DiGRA Nordic '14: Proceedings of the 2014 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

In this article we present the hermeneutic method as a tool for analyzing game studies discourses. We use Markku Eskelinen’s profusely interpreted “The Gaming Situation” (2001) as a case study. Our premise is that whereas the hermeneutic method is academically well-established, its conscious application is not. It is suggested that with conscious application of the hermeneutic method the persistent and problematic questions in game studies, like those related to narrative, definition, and art, gain potential to be treated with increased sophistication.


Baldur’s Gate and History: Race and Alignment in Digital Role Playing Games

Warnes Christopher
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

Games studies today are characterised by both the novelty of interpreting the unfolding digital revolution, and insecurity about where the discipline stands in terms of other academic fields of inquiry. The ludology/narratology debate exhibits two important features: anxiety about the proximity of the discipline to the games industry, and a formalist bias that dominates the field. Focussing on race and alignment in role playing games, this paper addresses this bias by asserting the relevance of cultural materialist and postcolonial modes of critique to commercially-produced computer games. It is argued that games like Baldur’s Gate I and II cannot be properly understood without reference to the fantasy novels that inform them. When historicised, the genre of fantasy reveals an implicit reliance on notions of race and moral alignment. The ways these notions re-appear in digital role playing games is shown to be relevant to current political and social realities of the West.


A Touch of Medieval: Narrative, Magic and Computer Technology in Massively Multiplayer Computer Role-Playing Games

Stern Eddo
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

The paper provides an in depth examination of the narrative structure of Massively Multiplayer Online Computer Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). The analysis is focused on the narrative complexities created by the relationships between computer technology, the medieval fantasy that is central to the genre, and the emergent nature of the online player society. The paper is divided into four major sections: the first examines the question of neomedievalism (as pronounced in the 1970's by Umberto Eco) and its relationship to technology and magic. The second section recounts the historical development of the MMORPG genre. The third section examines the narrative form unique to fantasy genre computer games that arises when the cogent narratives of the fantasy genre are mixed with the equally fantastic narratives of high tech computer culture. The fourth section examines a specifi c set of game "artifacts" that make the specific narrative diegesis of MMORPGs.


Ludologists love stories, too: notes from a debate that never took place

Frasca Gonzalo
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

During the last few years, a debate took place within the game scholars community. A debate that, it seems, opposed two groups: ludologists and narratologists. Ludologists are supposed to focus on game mechanics and reject any room in the field for analyzing games as narrative, while narratologists argue that games are closely connected to stories. This article aims at showing that this description of the participants is erroneous. What is more, this debate as presented never really took place because it was cluttered with a series of misunderstandings and misconceptions that need to be clarified if we want to seriously discuss the role of narrative in videogames.


As if by Magic: On Harry Potter as a Novel and Computer Game

Gunder Anna
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

This paper examines the computer game Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in relation to the novel with the same title. The analysis focuses on the temporal aspects of the works, and differences and similarities regarding both media structure and artistic devices are described. The notion of content space is central and a distinction is made between information content space, action content space, and task content space, which form various kinds of works and structures. Moreover, instead of the traditional pair story and discourse, the four concepts of performed discourse, performed story, omnidiscourse, and omnistory are used to reveal temporal effects and characteristics of the game. Finally, it is concluded that the two works, although different in many ways, play with the same user effects, suspense, curiosity, and surprise, to capture and keep the user’s interest.


A Literary Excursion Into the Hidden (Fan) Fictional Worlds of Tetris, Starcraft, and Dreamfall

Rambusch Jana Susi Tarja Ekman Stefan Wilhelmsson Ulf
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

In this paper, we discuss a part of participatory culture that so far has not received much attention in the academic world; it is the writing and reading of game fan fiction. The focus in this paper is on fan fiction, based on three different games that represent three different game genres: Tetris, StarCraft and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. The aim is to advance our understanding of how players experience and understand the game environment, and promote further research interest in fan fiction based on computer games. We do this by discussing narrative elements in the above mentioned computer games, and the fan fiction that is based on them.


Build It to Understand It: Ludology Meets Narratology in Game Design Space

Mateas Michael Stern Andrew
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

Building experimental games offers an alternative methodology for researching and understanding games, beyond what can be understood by playing and studying existing games alone. Through a simultaneous process of research and artmaking in the construction of the interactive drama Façade, new theoretical and design insights into several game studies questions were realized, including the hotly debated question of ludology vs. narratology. This paper describes some of the ways that building games can inform researchers about what game scholarship should be focused on and why, and ways that building games can offer new perspectives on existing forms and genres.


Exporting Wars: Literature Theory and How It Explains the Video Game Industry

Dymek Mikolaj
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

The video game industry is the combination of two worlds: technology (IT) and show-biz/media/cultural industries. This paper explores this tension by exposing the shortcomings of the culture economics perspective and its lack of understanding for the unique characteristics of the video game medium, thus subsequently proposing a deeper analysis of the medium by turning to literary theoretical perspectives on games, such as ludology and narratology. Due the lack of technological dimensions in its theoretical framework, narratology is deemed less fruitful as an analytical tool and ludology is preferred. Ludology, with Espen Aarseth’s cybertext theory elucidates aspects of “interactivity”, author-medium-reader power relations and the mechanical organization of textual machines, which provides perspectives on practice in the video game industry.