A Universe Divided: Texts vs. Games in The Elder Scrolls

Jansen Dennis
2018 DiGRA Nordic '18: Proceedings of 2018 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

In this paper, I seek to understand how online fan-made archives function as spaces wherein fans of The Elder Scrolls construct its narrative universe together, using the web-based archive The Imperial Library as a primary tool that facilitates a certain type of fannish engagement known as ‘archontic fandom’. I see fannish discussions surrounding the canonical status of several works within the universe as an entry point into one of the most important underlying controversies of The Elder Scrolls as a shared idea between its fans; that is, the tension between the ‘universe-as-games’ and the ‘universe-as-texts’. Some fans give primacy to the written texts found within the universe, and neglect the universe-as-games in their world-building discussions. Consequentially, The Imperial Library’s paratextual functioning and overt emphasis on texts come to strengthen the position of the universe-as-texts in relation to the universe-as-games.


Paratextual Play: Unlocking the Nature of Making-of Material of Games

Glas René
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.


Playing Across Media: Exploring Transtextuality in Competitive Games and eSports

Egliston Ben
2015 DiGRA '15 - Proceedings of the 2015 DiGRA International Conference

The aim of this paper is to explore the synthesis of digital games and observatory media facilitated by eSports and the competitive play of games. Borrowing from Genette's work in the field of literary studies, as well as media and game studies research, I describe the crossmedia assemblage occurring in competitive games as transtextual. A particular focus is the quantitative analysis of play in Valve's Dota 2. Using publicly archived player statistics, I describe how the broadcast play of professionals has come to exist as a locus of game knowledge and an impetus for styles of play for many amateur players. I argue that players must negotiate both the traditional gamespace and the space of surrounding texts with which gameplay has become conflated. Conversely, I posit that transtextual systems are situationally reflexive, and amateur players can assert change in professional domains. In addition to the compositional analysis of the crossmedia videogame form, I explore the phenomenological implications of this assemblage, namely digital games' movement away from its common conceptualisation as leisure based activity.