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This is an old revision of GamesAndNarrativesInDH made by MorganAdmin on 2014-10-14 10:09:36.


Games and Narratives in DH

or Games as Literary Fiction


Gamer reviews

Gamer reviews focus on play-states and the relation of a game to the gaming genre: how a game works and whether it's worth time playing as a game. We're looking at The Path for its narrative and ludic features rather than gaming features. We're looking at how it works to create meaning and where a game such as this fits in digital humanities. Different criteria.


I find it interesting that some game reviews and critiques come at the The Path as a story to be interpreted by conventional interpretive guidelines (X means Y, given warrants drawn from pop psychology), as here, by Gamer-Dame.
[Re Carmen] I think Carmen’s first sexual encounter was with an older man who caused her undue trauma, causing her large amounts of regret & pain, also resulting her in distrusting any future relationships.

[Re Scarlet] The house is how she sees the world: bland & empty of art (covered furniture), filled with meaningless order & monotony (the jars). I think Scarlet fills [sic] resentful towards her family for taking her dreams from her. The wires or strings at the end symbolize her feeling controlled by others & having no control over her own life. The stage at the end represents her lost dream of being a musician. from

This is creating a deformance - but one of a different character than, say, reading Dickinson backwards, or using text analysis. Technically, it's crossing a media boundary from ludic encounter to textual narrative. That is, what Gamer-Dame is coding and decoding is not the game itself but her encounter with it.

Gamer-Dame explains her thinking in this way
The Path, for all its simplicity, is not a straightforward game. Go find a discussion board on the plot & see for yourself. A lot is left up to the interpretation of the player, & I’m pretty sure that’s how the developers wanted it. As one of them stated,
“We create only the situation. And the actual story emerges from playing, partially in the game, partially in the player’s mind.”
How the player interprets the story is just as important as how the developers wanted to portray it. Even the most well-laid out plot can be twisted by the interpretation of the player. Unlike in books, not everything is spelled out. Partly this is due to limitations of gaming technology, but it also allows the player to project themselves onto a character. A lot of times we give our controlled characters a personality, past or motivation that isn’t back up by the game. Check out the Game section of if you don’t believe me.

Where The Path is different is that this ambiguity was intentional from the start. Just as the point of the game is more about the path traveled than the goal, the draw of playing The Path is about your own experience with it. It’s about the journey, not the destination, to put in simpler terms.

Overarching question is where to place games and gaming
theoretical fields
narrative or not?

Ensslin places games as narrative and literary.
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