Temporality, authorial intentions, and truth in video game fiction
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AbstractThis thesis examines the claim that video games differ fundamentally from other media in terms of fictional truth. Fictional truth has been treated extensively in the field of philosophy of fiction, primarily in relation to literature and, to a certain extent, film, but video games have been far too neglected. Truth in game fiction has been discussed by game scholars, and one prevalent view is that fictional truth in games can be altered through the interaction of the player. Scholars support this claim with reference to the purportedly unique nature of games as a medium in terms of temporality and authorial intentions, asserting that these two factors determine truth differently in game fiction. Game scholars often argue that video game stories have other temporal properties than novels and films, that game stories take place in the present and that this makes it possible for players to alter the truth-value of fictional propositions. They also argue that games have an interactive fictional truth, and that the player is some kind of author. However, by applying theories from philosophy of fiction, and with a methodology based in analytic philosophy, the thesis refutes these claims. I show that there are fundamental issues with their conception of time in fiction and that they fail to show why the arguments used to defend this conception are applicable exclusively to games. I also show that they fail to connect their claims regarding authorship to corresponding discussions in philosophy of fiction, where there have been extensive debates surrounding the importance of authorial intentions and to what extent these can determine the fictional truth of a given work; the same issues making it problematic to ascribe too much authority to the creator of a fictional work are retained and/or exacerbated when players are seen as authors. The thesis thus refutes common claims in game studies and expands the scope of philosophy of fiction.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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