Beyond the Screen

Beyond Game and Narration: A Morphological Approach to Computer Game Analysis

10.20-11.10: Jochen Venus (Siegen, Germany)

Abstract: In spite of the large amount of computer games that are not telling stories in the conventional sense, narrative and descriptive elements can be detected in almost every computer game. In many cases computer games trigger both play and interpretation and therefore can with justice and fruitfully be analysed both as games and as narrations. Yet there is a blind spot in both perspectives: The interplay of game structures and narrative elements is masked out as well as the interplay of the respective receptional practises. The paper argues that if we want to treat the realms of the game-narration interplay scientifically we have to argue beyond the established concepts of traditional media genres (like the novel, the board game, the cinema etc.). The paper outlines a morphological perspective that focuses on the mutual uses of narrative elements and game structures as well as the hybridisation of the practises of play and interpretation. The hybridisation of these practises constitutes one of the most central innovations of the recent media upheaval: the aesthetics of simulation.

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