Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
In recent years, having evolved beyond solely play-based interactions, it is now possible to analyze video games alongside other narrative forms, such as novels and films. Video games now involve rich stories that require input and interaction on behalf of the player. This level of agency likens video games to a kind of modern hypertext, networking and weaving various narrative threads together, something which traditional modes of media lack. When examined from the lens of reader-response criticism, this interaction deepens even further, acknowledging the player’s experience as a valid interpretation of a video game’s plot. The wide freedom of choice available to players, in terms of both play and story, in 2007’s Mass Effect, along with its critical reception, represents a turning point in the study of video games as literature, exemplifying the necessity for player input in undergoing a narrative-filled journey. Active participation and non-linear storytelling, typified through gaming, are major steps in the next the evolution of narrative techniques, which requires the broadening of literary criticism to incorporate this new development.
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Feldman, Lee. Player-Response: On the Nature of Interactive Narratives as Literature. 2018. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000031