The Un-Changing Narrative of the Game

By Erwin J. Warkentin.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As scholars and artists have begun to look more closely at gaming, in particular computer and various other forms of online play, they have begun to argue as to whether games do indeed contain a traditional narrative. Up to the advent of the computer as a gaming platform, one could argue fairly convincingly that there was indeed such a thing as a general narrative that could easily be understood by most players of the game. This will be demonstrated through a simple example as found in the game “snakes and ladders.” This was because most games remained relatively linear in their “construction.” However, when one uses the computer and especially the computer in a networked environment, the necessity of a linear narrative for the game disappears entirely. To some extent this has led to the suggestion that a typical computer game has only a very simplistic narrative, if it has one at all. It is thought that each game played will, by the very fact that it is played in a networked environment, have a different narrative. In this presentation a closer look will be taken at how the “rules” of the networked environment not only inform and guide the narrative created by the “player,” but also how it dictates the narrative that will be constructed by the user.

Keywords: Game, Theory, Computer, Network, Narrative, Linear, Snakes, Ladders, Schiller, Kant

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.269-280. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 943.777KB).

Dr. Erwin J. Warkentin

Head, German and Russian and Coordinator of Communications Studies, Department of German and Russian, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Since 1989, Dr. Warkentin has been working in the area of computer assisted learning. This experience led to his appointment as Director of Campus Manitoba, a consortium of Manitoba’s 7 post-secondary institutions, in 2001. Since then he has returned to full time academia and is currently head of German and Russian at Memorial University. Using the experience gained with Campus Manitoba, he assisted in developing the technological infrastructure in Paraguay at the Evangelical University of Paraguay. Through all of this, he has maintained a keen interest in educational issues in the third-world and has published and given numerous papers on the topic. In 2009 he founded the Communication Studies Program at Memorial. He has continued to conduct research on how the computer effects our perception of history and literature.


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