Suspension of Disbelief in Videogames
In this module I needed to read through the PhD thesis of Dr. Douglas Brown, “fearless leader and head of Falmouth Games Academy” and review one of the chapters. I choose Chapter One – Making the Case for the Medium. Seeing there was a lot to unpack in the chapter, I am still going through it a second time after an initial reading with notes and researching some of the terminology, scholars referenced, as well as, some of the games cited. Brown takes a qualitative approach to “comparing and contrasting games with film, theatre and literature” through the lens of ludonarrative dissonance which “refers to the intersection in a video game of ludic elements and narrative elements” or in simpler terms, ” the conflict between a video game’s narrative told through the story and the narrative told through the gameplay.” I’ve attached a video below that can help explain the crux of the idea. In this first chapter Brown is looking to “to justify the value of games as storytelling vehicles” and explores modes of engagement between games and the afore mentioned media. Is is necessary to understand the ideas of gameplay gestalt, diegetic vs. non-diegetic and the idea of the uniqueness of the suspension of disbelief in games. Brown is “investigating whether or not games require a hybrid mode of engagement made up of those required to engage with other media, or something unique and specific to their own form and construction.” But there is a caveat, he states that “in this chapter for the purposes of comparison the media types which will be set opposite games are flattened out and only their most popular or prevalent instances are engaged with. Specific kinds of film, with an emphasis on Hollywood, of literature with an emphasis on the novel and of theatre with an emphasis on mainstream classical drama have been selected to represent these media. Audiences, too, are flattened out into an assumed receiver.” I will be updating this post with answers to following questions:
- Can I ‘deconstruct’ the argument – identify the gaps or jumps in the logic?
- What are the strengths and limitations of this study?
- How does this paper contribute to my own work?