Digital Movies And Digital Games Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #36529382 Related Topics: Computer Games, Digital, Dances With Wolves, Video Game
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … digital games is quite relaxing, as no adequate research has been carried out yet, so nearly anything goes. Writing, in general, about gaming and games is also very much similar. Sadly, and with startling cumulative consequences, games are under-theorized. Although there is the work of authors such as Ehrmann, Huizinga, and Caillois, game theory, philosophical ideas such as the work of Wittgenstein, and libraries teeming with research on board games, one can not get far into the field of computer games using only the above resources. As well, if there is, or will be, a proper computer game research field, it can also be said to be at risk of colonization and intrusion from existing scholarly tribes (Eskelinen 2001). Computer games have to be secured against the colonizing effect of textual and narrative analysis. In the case of semiotics, the idea of "text" generalizes to everything in material existence; however, semiotic analysis cannot capture the essence of computer games. Games, within orthodox scholarly circles, are viewed as a phenomenon of a 'lower' level of culture; a few academicians do attempt to 'rescue' games through connecting them with narratives and other high-culture phenomena. This low/high polarity, which is a type of academic 'snobbery', does not result in any interesting methodology or theory, and runs the risk of missing what is truly novel with regards to games (Michael 2011).

The association of stories with games is a controversial issue among gamers, game designers, and academicians in this field, alike. For instance, at a recently-conducted conference for Games Studies, a feud could have been initiated between self-styled ludologists, who intended to shift focus to game-playing mechanics, and narratologists, who aimed to study games, as well as other storytelling modes. The creativity model often linked to digital media isn't one of distinctiveness and novelty, but of diversity and recombination. This model is hardwired to the almost 'supernatural' ability of computers to duplicate and merge texts, sounds, images, and other items from a limitless range of sources. Undeniably, digital media as well as post-structuralist theory, in diverse though interrelated ways, prove that creating and studying something new without, at times, drawing on processes and forms obtained from what can already be found around us, is impossible. Considering this viewpoint, no discipline, genre, or work is independent or distinctive: they are all specific yet vague combinations of other elements, which themselves are non-unique and varied (Jenkins 2004).

Games possess conventions and representational aspects; a large portion of the narrative vs. game conflict revolves around whether or not one must regard conventions or representations as fundamental (Michael 2011). This paper deals with ludology, and how it differs from narratology.

Important terms relevant to the game/movie-hybrid-discussion


This term was invented to unify the works of scholars from diverse disciplines with regards to narrative. Research on play and games also faces a similar condition: topics are seen to be studied broadly from diverse disciplines such as anthropology, economy, sociology and psychology. These studies, however, are normally independent, and revolve around small characteristics, without seeking larger patterns of comprehension (Frasca 1999).


Espen Aarseth, an advocator of the advent of a modern field of research focused especially on studying games as well as game play, coined the term 'Ludology' rather than framing the game ideas through the lens of established disciplines and other media (Jenkins 2004). Ludology (derived from the Latin ludus, which means 'game', but also means 'school'), was proposed to denote a proposed new field of research on activities pertaining to games and play. Similar to narratology, ludology should also be an independent discipline, free of the media that support the activity (Frasca 1999). The term 'Ludi' was...


The lead character is Magister Ludi, in this philosophical narrative that continually refers to a special 'game' that encompasses all knowledge and is played by an intellectual elite.

Ludology refers to a specific analysis of games, wherein emphasis is placed on the games' formal elements such as attributes, entities, and rule systems. 'Games studies' is the generic term employed to denote the humanistic approach to the study of games. In contrast, ludology is a term normally reserved for formalists; it most frequently stands as an anti-narratology approach- the narratology vs. ludology argument (Michael 2011).

Ludology and narratology differences

Most of the naive comparisons that are made between games and game-narratives normally arise out of definitions for narrative that are too limited, weak, or broad. These comparisons usually boil down to discovery of 'characters' and 'plots' in both these modes (i.e. games and narratives). We must, however, be aware that this is not adequate, as those properties and events can also be found in the field of 'drama', which is clearly a mode of its own. The marginal definition that Gerard Genette and Gerald Prince gave for 'narrative', in essence, states that there have to be two components or aspects to constitute a narrative: 1) a time-based succession of events, and/or plot, if the concept is watered down; and, 2) a narrative setting, such as having narrators as well as characters or 'narratees' (Eskelinen 2001).

Every game does not tell a story. Games can have expressive, experiential, and abstract forms, and thus be closer akin to modern dance or music than cinema. While some ballets such as The Nutcracker tell stories, storytelling is not a defining or intrinsic characteristic of dance. In the same way, several games (for example, Blix, Snood and Tetris) are merely graphic games that not only do not readily lend themselves to narrative illustration, but also have no necessity for any sort of narrative intervention. To understand such games, other concepts and terms are also required beyond narrative; these include expressive motion and interface design. The very last thing gamers want is to reign in inventive experimentation, which must take place in the initial years of development of a medium (Jenkins 2004).

A plot, story, or back story, does not suffice as 'narration'. Enacting a succession of events gives rise to a performance or drama; recounting a succession of events gives rise to a narrative; producing or playing out a succession of events under specific circumstances and adhering to formal rules gives rise to a game. While this is actually very simple, it is vital too: in games such as Tetris there are event sequences which don't form stories. A very simple reason exists for this: in the case of games, the central temporal relationship is one between event time and user-time, and not a narrative one (i.e. between discourse time and story time) (Eskelinen 2001).

In what appears as a misconception of identifying similar situations or characters in games, narratives, and drama, the situation can be considered as pretty much identical. In the case of computer games, a character that exists within the game can be operated, moved, caused to act, and etc.; discussions can be carried out with other voices or characters; and finally, characters themselves can evolve and/or develop dynamically as one progresses through power-ups and different level upgrades. These entities most definitely do not behave or act like traditional characters, actors, narrators, and/or directors, which are their supposed literary, cinematic and stage counterparts (Eskelinen 2001). Inter-activity can almost be regarded as an opposite to narrative. While the former relies on input from players for its motive power, the latter flows under an author's direction (Adams 1999).

Several games do possess narrative objectives. Minimally, they aim at tapping the emotional remainder of former narrative experiences. They often depend on the familiarity of gamers with the goals and roles of entertainment to orient them to game action. In many instances, game designers aspire to develop a sequence of narrative events for players. In view of these narrative objectives, it may be rational to indicate that some grasp of the relation between narrative and games is essential before understanding game design aesthetics or the nature of modern game culture (Jenkins 2004).

Narrative analysis doesn't have to be rigid, despite some narratologists (with Janet Murray being the most commonly cited example) seemingly promoting specific narrative forms for games. There isn't one, though reducing games to any such form comes at some or other price. Jenkins rightfully argues that designers of games must, therefore, endeavor to develop the processes and forms to be drawn from, rather than decrease them. He also rightfully notes that some of the ludologists themselves can be proven to be much too hasty in reducing narrative to exaggeratedly simplistic models, such as strictly linear systems. Most essentially, his study of spatially-aligned narrative forms offers challenging approaches to modern game design. Simultaneously, however, Jenkins's specified aim of offering an intermediate compromise between narratologists and ludologists leans more toward the former (Jenkins 2004).

Present and different positions

Literature that surrounds gaming and simulation reveals two philosophical approaches, namely, ludology and narratology.

Narratologists represent academics who claim, by and large, that gaming and simulation are intimately linked with stories…

Sources Used in Documents:


Adams, Ernest. 1999. "Three Problems for Interactive Storytelters.." Gamasutra.

Engberg, Maria. n.d. Markku Eskelinen. Accessed July 14, 2015.

Eskelinen, Markku. 2001. "The Gaming Situation." The international journal of computer game research.

Eskelinen, Markku. 2001. "Towards Computer Game Studies, Part 1: Narratology and Ludology." Helsinki.
Frasca, Gonzalo. 2001. About Gonzalo Frasca. May. Accessed July 14, 2015.
-- . 1999. "Ludology Meets Narratology: Similitude and differences between (video)games and narrative." Parnasso. Accessed July 14, 2015.
Henry, Jenkins. n.d. Who the & %&# Is Henry Jenkins? Accessed July 14, 2015.
Wikipedia. 2015. Janet Murray. May 13 . Accessed July 14, 2015.
-- . 2015. McKenzie Wark. June 2. Accessed July 14, 2015.

Cite this Document:

"Digital Movies And Digital Games" (2015, July 18) Retrieved February 8, 2023, from

"Digital Movies And Digital Games" 18 July 2015. Web.8 February. 2023. <>

"Digital Movies And Digital Games", 18 July 2015, Accessed.8 February. 2023,

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