Digital Make-Believe

Part of the series Human–Computer Interaction Series pp 89-99


Gameworld Interfaces as Make-Believe

  • Kristine JørgensenAffiliated withDepartment of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen Email author 

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Make-believe is an important part of our engagement with many aspects of our lives and is often seen as central to our engagement with representational media. When playing video games, players must make sense of a range of information, and gameworlds include a selection of signs that either point to the game system, or to the fictional aspects of the game. The combination of health meters, experience bars, and symbols floating around in the world, with a recognizable environment featuring anthropomorphic inhabitants with intentions and motivations may appear paradoxical, but players tend to accept this contradiction without any confusion. With reference to Kendall Walton’s (Mimesis as make-believe. On the foundations of the representational arts. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990) theory of make-believe where virtually anything has the potential of being props in the imaginative process, the aim of this chapter is to expand the understanding of make-believe by exploring how it is employed when players interact with gameworlds.