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Gaming and Literature: Virtual Game Immersion in Contemporary Print Text

Kuhn, Brittany (2019) Gaming and Literature: Virtual Game Immersion in Contemporary Print Text. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This study seeks to determine whether video games, specifically narrative role-playing games, have matured enough as a narrative medium to be remediated by their predecessors. Whilst scholars have already begun documenting how cinema has begun incorporating elements unique to video games, no such research has been conducted on whether video games have begun to impact print literature in a similar way. Writers have often used ludic strategies such as elaborate puzzle-solving and labyrinthine narratives to keep the reader engaged, such as is found in an analysis of the ergodicity and immersive qualities of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1962 novel Pale Fire. However, such pre-digital texts provide a physical interaction on the part of the reader but only through narrative means. Writers of hypertext fiction have explored using the computer’s multimedia capabilities to create a sense of reader immersion; however, as shown through a breakdown of James Pope’s analysis of the four major problems to ‘mainstream’ hypertext fiction, such limited and scripted interactions do not capture the mainstream reader quite like video games do. Video games, however, have created new strategies while remediating older ones, particularly through tying the player’s ergodic agency and decisions to both a ludic progression in the game as well as a narrative one. Bethesda’s continually popular and critically acclaimed virtual role-playing game, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011), is used to explore these immersive elements and how they are accomplished differently from postmodern ergodic texts and hypertext fictions. Finally, in comparing the elements of Skyrim to those present in J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. (2013), a text published after the rise of contemporary video game consoles, and contrasting S. to the earlier ergodic text House of Leaves (2001) by Mark Z. Danielewski, a pattern of current and future back-and-forth remediation emerges, solidifying video games’ structural impact on current and future print literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Brittany Kuhn
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2019 12:58
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2019 12:58

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