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Title: The zone of "becoming" : game, text and technicity in videogame narratives
Author: Mukherjee, Souvik
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 9589
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2008
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Videogames have emerged as arguably the most prominent form of entertainment in recent years. Their versatility has made them key contributory factors in social, literary, cultural and philosophical discourse; however, critics also tend to see videogames as posing a threat to established cultural parameters. This thesis argues that videogames are firmly grounded in older media and they are important for the development of the notions of textuality, technicity and identity that literary and cultural theories have been debating in recent years. As its point of departure, the thesis takes the contested role of videogames as storytelling media. Challenging the opposition between games and narratives that is posited in earlier research, the framework of the Derridean concept of supplementarity has been adopted to illustrate how the ludic and the narrative inform each other's core, and yet retain their media-specific identities. It is also vital to consider how the technicity and narrative of games inform their perception as texts. Videogames provide a direct illustration of this but they develop on similar principles in earlier media instead of doing something entirely 'new'. The multitelic structure of videogames tends to be looked upon as symptomatic of novelty; in reality, however, they illustrate more clearly the inherent nature of telos in all narrative media. Videogames point out how narrative endings exist as the actualisation of possible events and identities. These events exist in a zone of potentialities. Between the perception of an occurrence in the game and the player's response to it, there exists an 'affective' interval, where a number of potential events coexist: from among these, one event is actualised. The player's identity, both in-game and in interaction with the game, also evolves accordingly. Seen as an ongoing process, this corresponds well to the Deleuzoguattarian idea of 'becoming'. The space of possibility in which game instances exist is, therefore, a 'zone of becoming'. The intense involvement that players experience is seen as resulting from the continual shifting of identities arising out of the actualisation of possible events. This engagement is not a fixed relationship between the player and the game: instead, it is a 'becoming'. The framework of 'becoming' is vital to the understanding of videogames as narrative media. 'Becoming', however, has already been applied by Deleuze and Guattari to characterise older narrative media such as novels and cinema. Videogames, therefore, not only show that games can be read and books played, but more importantly they also highlight the fact that this has always been the case.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available