“What’chu Lookin’ At?”: Narrative, Spectatorship, and Ludic Constructivism in Variable State’s Virginia

  • Ryan HouseEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11869)


This paper focuses on Variable State’s 2016 game Virginia, a game that may have as much in common with film as it does traditional video games. One of the things that makes Virginia stand out is a complete lack of dialogue, either spoken or textual. Instead, interactions within the game are abstracted; players are asked to intuit character motivations through body language and other non-verbal cues. Virginia is an interesting marriage between film and game design that surpasses the legacy of interactive films – the game has only one story to tell; there are no branching narratives or multiple endings. Instead, I argue that the game makes literal David Bordwell’s constructivist theory of narrative film in that the player must execute operations corresponding to filmic devices in order to frame narrative information within their point of view in the game.


Narrative Spectator Point-of-view Video game Film Virginia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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