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Open AccessArticle

What Game Narrative Are We Talking About? An Ontological Mapping of the Foundational Canon of Interactive Narrative Forms

Professorship Interactive Narrative Design, HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, Nieuwekade 1, 3511 RV Utrecht, The Netherlands
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gaming and the Arts of Storytelling)
There have been misunderstandings regarding “narrative” in relation to games, in part due to the lack of a shared understanding of “narrative” and related terms. Instead, many contrasting perspectives exist, and this state of affairs is an impediment for current and future research. To address this challenge, this article moves beyond contrasting definitions, and based on a meta-analysis of foundational publications in game studies and related fields, introduces a two-dimensional mapping along the dimensions of media specificity and user agency. Media specificity describes to what extent medium affects narrative, and user agency concerns how much impact a user has on a narrative. This mapping is a way to visualize different ontological positions on “narrative” in the context of game narrative and other interactive narrative forms. This instrument can represent diverse positions simultaneously, and enables comparison between different perspectives, based on their distance from each other and alignment with the axes. A number of insights from the mapping are discussed that demonstrate the potential for this process as a basis for an improved discourse on the topic. View Full-Text
Keywords: game narrative; interactive digital narrative; mapping; ludology; narratology; ludonarrative; shared vocabulary game narrative; interactive digital narrative; mapping; ludology; narratology; ludonarrative; shared vocabulary
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Koenitz, H. What Game Narrative Are We Talking About? An Ontological Mapping of the Foundational Canon of Interactive Narrative Forms. Arts 2018, 7, 51.

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