The dynamics of the player narrative: how choice shapes videogame literature

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Bryan, Jeffrey Scott
Bogost, Ian
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The author narrative and the player narrative are distinct and separate parts that make up the whole of videogame literature. The videogame medium encourages a mixed-media understanding of conventions and the rejection of essentialism that leads to, inspires, and facilitates the player narrative. Videogame literatures require discreet actions that, as part of any possible reading, the player must do-- and in doing the player must make a choice with mind and body that involves a human-to-machine expression of agency within constraints that define the player narrative. So the decision making process in videogame storytelling is that human-to-machine interaction that can be understood as both the means by which the videogame story progresses, and the process by which the player wields his or her narrative within the procedural possibility space. Videogame literary analysis requires understanding how players make those decisions, understanding how the player leverages media conventions in order to wield power over the narrative, and understanding what role the player has in videogame storytelling. The choice dynamics of a videogame narrative are the key narrative elements within videogame literature that provide players and researchers tools for evaluating choice opportunities within videogame literature toward forming a better understanding of the space between and connection to the author narrative and the player narrative. All of these analyses combine to form a picture of decision making processes in videogame literature that are complex and contradictory path making endeavors that define the narrative experience in videogame literature, and the interconnected dynamics of the author and player narrative space.
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