Games as the New Narrative: Can Playing Be as Good as Reading?

In October, Naomi Alderman’s Guardian article (“The First Great Works of Digital Literature Are Already Being Written“) had the literati’s cybersphere buzzing with its claim that both the gaming world and the world of Literature (with a capital L, thanks very much) need to get over themselves in order to see their intersections more clearly.

Your experimental technological literature is already here; it’s the noise you’re trying to get your children to turn down while you pen your thoughts about the future of location-based storytelling.

Alderman lays out very clearly the idea that gaming and literature share more than a little DNA, and that the artificial divisions between them in the academy are working against their mutual success, rather than for it. The impulse to claim “intellectual superiority” by denying games’ ability to carry complex and thought-provoking narratives is foolish, asserts Alderman, and she challenges us to try such complex games as Journey and Gone Home.

Whether or not you identify as a gamer or as a reader might not matter. In the end, both kinds of media seek to transport the consumer to a different world, by employing many of the same narrative techniques to compel the reader/gamer to engage with ideas and concepts in new ways.



Posted in: Books and Authors

About the Author:

Erin Downey Howerton is a public librarian in Kansas. Follow her on Twitter at @hybridlib.

Post a Comment