Article: Narrativity of Computer Games

The narrative qualities (or lack thereof) of computer games are a debated topic that is clearly very close to my interests. I have often lamented the lack of a complete, authoritative, up to date and balanced reference on this point. I’ve very recently discovered a very good entry by Britta Neitzel on the Living Handbook of Narratology on this topic that makes a good job of summing up a very reasonable approach to this topic. “Narrativity can be understood as a virtual capacity of computer games. Like every game, computer games consist of rule-governed actions carried out by a player. But they may also contain elements typical for narratives: actions, events, characters, and a setting. If these elements are arranged in a story-like order, a computer game possesses narrativity. Additionally, computer games, in contrast to other games (such as ball games or chess), integrate a representational level depicting the player’s actions in the game world and the player herself in the form of an avatar who acts within this world. This representational level can be compared with the level of narrative discourse”.

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