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Build It to Understand It: Ludology Meets Narratology in Game Design Space were realized, including the hotly debated question of ludology vs. narratology. LUDOLOGY MEETS NARRATOLOGY.: Similitude and differences between ( video)games and narrative. By Gonzalo Frasca. Finnish version. Ludology Meets Narratology – Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.

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Confronted with a big and respected player in the academic playgrounds, games studies scholars seem to opt for a maximin strategy.

Their thematic is varied: A strategy, on the other hand, is a narratolohy of histories that might or might not or even could not possibly occur. There are two terms in English to define the activity: Each time the player fails solving a puzzle, either the videogame ends “wrongly” and the player losesor the player has to continue until she goes through it. Because in the heat of the debate ludologists sometimes seem to have lost sight of such subtle distinctions their arguments against narrative and narratology have often been unnecessarily unconvincing.

Game Theory and Narrative For game theory, the difference between a narrative and a game is merely a matter of perspective. The player can define his own goal: That rule was proposed and accepted by the same player, and she can drop it whenever she feels like it. Nowadays scholars of games studies argue that narrative theory is no longer appropriate to cope with the forms and formats of new media.

However, the problem still persists: Rather, this tradition is very much interested in games with outcomes that have very serious non-negotiable consequences.



We have seen that, while ludus and narrative are not the same thing, some kinds of ludus particularly the adventure videogamecan produce narrative sequences and, therefore, narrative. These simulations do have rules of defeat, but not rules of triumph: During the last quarter of a century, narrativity has been a key concept in the humanities.

Amsterdam University Press, Manchester and New York: As Edward Branigan argues: The only author that gives a hint is philosopher Andre Lalande. Games focus on self-mastery and exploration of the external world, not exploration of interpersonal relationships except for multiplayer games.

As LeDiberder affirms, they are more like toys [ LeDiberder] or even playgrounds.

However, that does not mean that they are the same thing. Of course we can not prove this affirmation, but, at least, as we have shown, there are some reasons to believe it. Any attempt to turn empathy, which relies on mental simulation, into first-person, genuinely felt emotion would in the vast majority of cases trespass the fragile boundary that separates pleasure from pain Ryan, a. In this section we wanted to better explain some of the relationships between ludus and some videogames, particularly adventures and narrative.

Build It to Understand It: Ludology Meets Narratology in Game Design Space | DiGRA

BarthesRoland et al. It is almost impossible to create a puppet of a shy, calm nun and pretend that players will behave according to those traits. Game theory has been called upon to demonstrate that a more relaxed view on gameness is possible and desirable.

Similitude and differences between video games and narrative. The second task was also very particular: Lidology main goal was to show how basic concepts of ludology could be used along with narratology to better understand videogames.


When you are stuck in a thermonuclear conflict, or try to get an advantage over your competitor in a market, throwing a ball is in game theoretical terms not a very rational act. This also convincingly shows that the differences pointed out by ludologists between a reader or spectator of narrative and a game player are a matter of perspective rather than principle.

Build it to understand it: Ludology meets narratology in game design space

The reader will notice that we will not refer in this work to the classic “theory of games “, that has so many applications in economy, political sciences or organizations theory. Conclusion If one is to go by the writings of some games studies scholars, games studies and narratology are like two players involved in a zero-sum game in which one player gains what the other player loses.

Recent theories of narrative. This, however, is a quite sterile and obsolete game that nobody can ever win. In a similar way, our ludus scheme represents the possibilities of the game winning or losingbut not a particular session of ludus. Moreover, ludologists argue that game players do not identify with their avatars in the gameworld as readers or spectators of a narrative do with the main characters of a story.