Book: Narrative Theory, Literature, and New Media

Reblogging the following from Frans Mäyrä’s blog. New book, edited by Mari Hatavara, Matti Hyvärinen, Maria Mäkelä and Frans Mäyrä, is now available for pre-order: Narrative Theory, Literature, and New Media: Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds (Routledge). This interdisciplinary work discusses and analyses constructions of storyworlds and minds in games as well as in literature and media from multiple perspectives. Here is the table of contents:

Introduction: Minds in Action, Interpretive Traditions in Interaction Mari Hatavara, Matti Hyvärinen, Maria Mäkelä, and Frans Mäyrä

Section I

1. Texts, Worlds, Stories: Narrative Worlds as Cognitive and Ontological Concept Marie-Laure Ryan

2. Storyworlds and Paradoxical Narration: Putting Classifications to a Transmedial Test Liviu Lutas

3The Charge against Classical and Post-Classical Narratologies’ “Epistemic” Approach to Literary FictionGreger Andersson

Section II

4. How You Emerge from This Game Is up to You: Agency, Positioning, and Narrativity in The Mass Effect Trilogy Hanna-Riikka Roine

5. Playing the Worlds of Prom Week Ben Samuel, Dylan Lederle-Ensign, Mike Treanor, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Josh McCoy, Aaron Reed, and Michael Mateas

6.Scripting Beloved Discomfort: Narratives, Fantasies, and Authenticity in Online Sadomasochism J. Tuomas Harviainen

7.Storyworld in Text-Messages: Sequentiality and Spatialisation Agnieszka Lyons

Section III

8. Defending the Private and the Unnarratable: Doomed Attempts to Read and Write Literary and Cinematic Minds in Marguerite Duras’s India Cycle Tytti Rantanen

9. Of Minds and Monsters: the Eventfulness of Monstrosity and the Poetics of Immersion in Horror LiteratureGero Brümmer

10. Narrative Conventions in Hallucinatory Narratives Tommi Kakko

11.Narrative and Minds in the Traditional Ballads of Early Country Music Alan Palmer

Section IV

12.Mind Reading, Mind Guessing, or Mental-State Attribution? The Puzzle of John Burnside’s A Summer of Drowning Matti Hyvärinen

13 Mind as World in the Reality Game Show Survivor Maria Mäkelä

14 Performing Selves and Audience Design: Interview Narratives on the Internet Jarmila Mildorf

15 Documenting Everyday Life: Mind Representation in the Web Exhibition “A Finnish Winter Day” Mari Hatavara

Afterword: A New Normal? Brian McHale

Publisher book page link:

Interactive Narrative: Invisible

“Invisible”, by Ruiting Ji, is a hard hitting interactive narrative that sees you surviving a day as a homeless person in Canada. Calum Fraser writes: “It’s an affecting and powerful experience experiencing a day in the life of a homeless person (albeit in virtual form), that gives you a glimpse of the day to day problems and setbacks they encounter. Throughout the day, you’ll make decisions in a variety of situations, from begging to searching for jobs, all highlighting one thing – there is no quick fix to your situation, you’re in this for the long haul. With a bit of assistance from friends or strangers you may manage to get back on your feet, but it’s a hard life and an uphill struggle all the way”.

Play the game online at and read Calum Fraser’s writeup at

PhD thesis: Playfulness, Play, and Games: A Constructionist Ludology Approach

Jakko Stenros has just defended is PhD dissertation titled “Playfulness, Play, and Games: A Constructionist Ludology Approach”. The work is about “a theoretical framework for understanding and separating playfulness, play, and games. Secondly, contributions to mid-level theory as models for understanding social play are presented. Thirdly, with the help of these tools, more practical insights are examined”.

Download the thesis at

Game: Lifeline

Rob LeFebvre writes: “If you’ve got a taste for innovative interactive fiction gaming, Lifeline is one you must try”. Lifeline is a text-based adventure on iOS devices, including the Apple Watch, that simulates text-based, real-time communication with an astronaut stranded in space. With every message received and sent, a bit of conversation is carried on with the astronaut, who’s desperately asking for help and advice on how to survive in the hostile environment.

Read Laura Hudson’s writeup at and Rob LeFebvre’s at

Storytelling In Video Games May Improve Social Skills, Emotional Capacity In Kids With Autism

The Medical Daily writes: “Video games have been blamed for fostering antisocial behavior and an early sedentary lifestyle in children, but a new perspective on the games may shine a light on some key benefits. A combined research effort from Germany and Austria investigated why people enjoy playing video games and what benefits they may be providing the autism community. The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found non-violent storytelling games could actually be helpful in curbing certain social aspects of autism”.

Read the paper “Immersed in Virtual Worlds and Minds. Effects of In-Game Storytelling on Immersion, Need Satisfaction, and Affective Theory of Mind” at

Read the writeup at Medical Daily

PhD thesis: Real-time hermeneutics. Meaning-making in ludonarrative digital games

Jonne Arjoranta defended his PhD thesis at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) with Espen Aarseth as opponent/discussant. His work is titled ‘Real-time hermeneutics: meaning-making in ludonarrative digital games’ and is a study of how ludonarrative videogames, videogames that combine game elements with narrative elements, express and convey meaning. The thesis “uses philosophical tools to analyze meaning in games. The philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer is used to compare the meaning-making in games to the interpretation of works of art. The theory of the interpretive process is based on the idea of the hermeneutic circle. Wittgenstein’s concept of language-games is used in examining how games should be defined and how their relations to each other should be understood. These philosophical methods are combined with the study of procedurality, narrativity and players”.

Download the thesis at

Article: Mapping Metroid: Narrative, Space, and “Other M”

Luke Arnott writes: “When Metroid: Other M (Team Ninja, 2010) was released on the Nintendo Wii, it got mixed reactions from fans and critics. Other M diverged from the first-person gameplay that had distinguished the Metroid series for much of the 2000s, returning to the third-person perspective of earlier games with a more “arcade” feel. More significantly, the player-avatar protagonist, Samus Aran, was made to speak for the first time since her appearance in the original Metroid (Nintendo R&D1, 1986). Many fans saw this as a betrayal of the character, especially since Samus – in earlier games an autonomous bounty hunter – was now taking orders from a patronizing new character, Adam Malkovich. But if Metroid: Other M appeared to stumble on the narrative level, an analysis of why – and in what specific ways – it did so might better help us to understand why earlier Metroid games were seen as great successes”.

Download the full paper at or read the free preprint at