Gameplay Narratives: The Storytelling of Play

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dc.contributor.advisor Cameron, A en Hand, Jordan en 2018-07-08T21:57:25Z en 2018 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Much of the discourse surrounding video game narrative is located within the debates between the disciplines of narratology--which perceives video games as narrative objects, much like film or literature—and ludology, which treats video games from the perspective of gameplay. Due to the influence of this debate, the studies of narrative and gameplay are frequently considered separate issues. This paper argues, instead, that it is gameplay which lies at the centre of gaming’s narrative potential, and functions as a distributor of narrative strands borrowed from understood conventions of narrative media, such as film and literature. This concept stems from comparing narrative itself—as defined by Jerome Bruner—to a process of pattern recognition identified by Raph Koster, specifically that our brains are a ‘voracious consumer of patterns, a soft pudgy gray Pac-Man of concepts’ (14). Put simply, this process of pattern recognition is achieved through the player interacting with ‘story element generators,’—video game aspects such as spaces, objects and audio-visual aesthetics which James Paul Gee argues distribute narrative strands (59). This essay argues that the process of the player interacting with these story element generators through gameplay, and thus consuming their narrative patterns, results in gameplay narratives, a term I use to describe the culmination of the narrative experiences created through this process. This argument is framed through the analysis of a wide spectrum of video games, such as survival horror, open world role-playing games, visual novels and indie games—which are chosen due to these game types exemplifying the production of, and obstacles faced by, gameplay narratives, as well as raising theoretical questions about the relationship between narrative and gameplay, and how these concepts might be further synthesised. Throughout the essay, these games will be also be used to discuss various arguments opposing the narrative functions of video games, particularly those raised by Jesper Juul. Ultimately, this essay argues that treating gameplay and narrative as inextricable elements in the functioning of video games circumvents the narrative instability suggested by theorists such as Juul, and should be adopted in future approaches to video game narrative. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99265064314102091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title Gameplay Narratives: The Storytelling of Play en
dc.type Thesis en Media, Film and Television en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 747293 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2018-07-09 en

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