Investigating the self and other in improvisational dance-making using 360° immersive technology
Subjectsnarrative game mechanics
Subject Categories::P390 Media studies not elsewhere classified
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AbstractThe continually developing game studies field has given rise to the question of ‘How do games tell stories?’ In response, this thesis aims to develop the ongoing understanding of narrative game mechanics (NGMs) and their capabilities as affect producing mechanics. By utilising a braided approach involving the roles of researcher, player, spectator and designer this thesis achieves a multi-faceted view of the emerging understandings of NGMs. This study builds on work from key researchers including Teun Dubbelman, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. In addition, work from the fields of affect and horror is drawn upon to create a strong theoretical underpinning which then contributed to four textual analyses. This involved two interactive fictions, The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo (2014a) and Stories Untold (2017); and two video games, INSIDE (2016) and Until Dawn (2015). As NGMs are still in their nascence, this necessitated the creation of a new analytical framework to aid in identifying and analysing any NGMs present in the games chosen. By drawing on the work of the theorists noted above, among others, the Action, Aesthetics, Mechanics and Narration (AAMN) framework was created. This framework establishes the basic actions afforded to the player and proceeds through progressive levels to determine whether they have contributed to the game’s narrative. As the Narration level can be indistinct, YouTube Let’s Plays of the chosen games were utilised to contribute to this gap as they offer player driven commentary and can function as a paratext of the chosen games. In addition to the textual analyses carried out, an IF was designed (using the platform Twine) which was also analysed using the previously noted framework. Player feedback was collected in place of the YouTube Let’s Plays used for the other games analysed. Taking on the role of a designer allowed insights on creating NGMs. Consideration of what could be accomplished within the possibilities and limitations of Twine further enforced the creative practice of thinking within a medium. This approach allowed for the creation of an exploratory artefact which aided in generating new knowledge through reflection on the creative practice used. The insights gained from the designer role aided in the textual analyses and vice versa. By utilising a braided role approach this enabled a more rounded reflection and analysis of NGMs and their affective capabilities. This thesis concludes by establishing that two specific NGMs have been identified during the research. These NGMs, the information mechanic and purposeful ambiguity, function as affective mechanics with horror-affect producing capabilities. Furthermore, this thesis contributes an extended definition of NGMs to the academic field, and notes that NGMs go beyond encouraging the game narrative, and further proposes definitions for the two specific NGMs identified.
CitationRussell, K. (2023) 'Investigating the Self and Other in Improvisational Dance-Making Using 360° Immersive Technology'. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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