Ludic Dysnarrativa : How Can Fictional Inconsistency in Games be Reduced?

Summerley, Rory ORCID logoORCID: (2017) Ludic Dysnarrativa : How Can Fictional Inconsistency in Games be Reduced? Doctoral thesis, University of the Arts London in collaboration with Falmouth University.

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Abstract / Summary

The experience of fictional inconsistencies in games is surprisingly common. The goal was to determine if solutions exist for this problem and if there are inherent limitations to games as a medium that make storytelling uncommonly difficult. Termed ‘ludic dysnarrativa’, this phenomenon can cause a loss of immersion in the fictional world of a game and lead to greater difficulty in intuitively understanding a game’s rules.

Through close textual analysis of The Stanley Parableand and other games, common trends are identified that lead a player to experience dysnarrativa. Contemporary cognitive theory is examined alongside how other media deal with fictional inconsistency to develop a model of how information (fictional and otherwise) is structured in media generally. After determining that gaps in information are largely the cause of a player feeling dysnarrativa, it is proposed that a game must encourage imaginative acts from the player to prevent these gaps being perceived. Thus a property of games, termed ‘imaginability’, was determined desirable for fictionally consistent game worlds. Many specific case studies are cited to refine a list of principles that serve as guidelines for achieving imaginability.

To further refine these models and principles, multiplayer games such as Dungeons and Dragons were analysed specifically for how multiple players navigate fictional inconsistencies within them. While they operate very differently to most single-player games in terms of their fiction, multiplayer games still provide useful clarifications and principles for reducing fictional inconsistencies in all games. Negotiation between agents (designers, players, game rules) in a game is of huge value to maintaining coherent fictional worlds and social information in some multiplayer games takes on a role close to that of fictional information in single player games. Dysnarrativa can also be used to positive effect in certain cases such as comedy games, horror games or for satirical purposes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Computer games. Fantasy games. Shared virtual environments. Narration (Rhetoric)
Subjects: Technology > Digital Works > Digital Games
Depositing User: Lucy Seale
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2019 09:27
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:28


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