This paper discusses the construction of consistent fictions in games using relevant theory drawn from discussions of musicals and pornography in opposition to media that are traditionally associated with fiction and used to discuss games (film, theatre, literature etc.). Game developer John Carmack’s famous quip that stories in games are like stories in pornography—optional—is the impetus for a discussion of the role and function of fiction in games. This paper aims to kick-start an informed approach to constructing and understanding consistent fictions in games. Case studies from games, musicals, and pornography are cross-examined to identify what is common to each practice with regards to their fictions (or lack thereof) and how they might inform the analysis of games going forward. To this end the terms ‘integrated’, ‘separated’, and ‘dissolved’ are borrowed from Dyer’s work on musicals, which was later employed by Linda Williams to discusses pornographic fictions. A framework is laid out by which games (and other media) can be understood as a mix of different types of information and how the arrangement of this information in a given work might classify it under Dyer’s terms and help us understand the ways in which a game fiction is considered consistent or not.
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