Computer Games as Narrative
The Ludology versus Narrativism Controversy

by Marie-Laure Ryan

Is the concept of narrative applicable to computer games? Are games therefore part of literature? Or do they need their own methodological approach and institutionalisation? In chapter 8 of her book Avatars of Story Ryan investigates the battle between narratologists and ludologists and explains why a game may not be a story but can be a machine for generating stories, why the narrative in a game often is only an affective hook disappearing once the player is absorbed in the fire of the action, and why on the other hand some times the game is just a ludically organized system for storytelling

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