Playful interaction occurs not only in games, but in literary texts as well. One cannot describe what takes place between author, text, and reader more accurately than by calling it a game. Games, on the other hand, cannot be reduced to playthings, but must be considered as cultural objects that are being read and interpreted. One does not, however, read solely for the plot. This is why a purely narratological analysis of both digital and analog games is bound to fail. Many games create a fictional world to be inhabited and explored by the players. In this respect, games are similar to literary texts, and a philological approach to games is therefore primarily justified because of their fictionality, rather than their narrative qualities. This is my starting point in an exploration of different models of ‘playability’, and how they can be used to understand the ‘readability’ of games.
TEXTUALITY IN VIDEO GAMES
In this article the participants report on a two year research project titled Textuality and Videogames; Interactivity, Narrative Space and Role Play that ran from September 2001, until late 2003 at the Institute of Education, University of London. After presenting an overview of the project, including the methodologies we have adopted, and the questions we have sought to address, we outline two sample case studies, one that relates to player agency, the other that considers role-play, social semiotics and sign making in an MMORPG.