Ab(Sense) of an Ending: Telos and Time in Video Game Narratives
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The plots of the video game narrative(s) are a great deal more complicated than the mesh of stories created in Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies. The structural constraints seen in the codex form are present in a lesser degree: unlike the apparently linear plots of earlier narrative media, the story-space in digital games is seemingly endless or multitelic. For some commentators, this poses major problems in conceiving of them as narratives. Often, unlike in older media, the game-text’s ending does not correspond to the spatial and the temporal limits of the game. Time operates in a complicated manner in the game-text and the replayability of the text gives rise to different narratives; yet, as any gamer knows, the ‘different’ narratives may be extremely repetitive with scarcely any variant feature to mark them out. A number of studies on ‘reading’ (or (w)reading) video games refer to their multiple endings as a unique feature but none attempt in-depth analysis. However, as this peculiar nature of the endings is a significant factor in compounding the problem with ‘reading’ digital game-texts as a narrative medium, a discussion of this is now long overdue.
KeywordsVideo Game Unit Operation Literary Criticism Game Design Digital Game
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