Så mycket på spel. En studie om spels narrativa förmåga och funktion i skolan
More Than a Game. A Study on Games' Narrative Capacity and Function in Education
The purpose of this essay is to investigate and discuss the current state of game research and its potential usage in didactic situations. The essay is divided in two parts. Part one consists of an attempt to comment preceding contemporary game research and address possible myths that have been established. Part two aims to discuss games narrative capacity and function in education using the theories and terms laid down by Wolfgang Iser and Gérard Genette. Contemporary game research tends to focus on classic retro games, trying to form theories for a general understanding of the media. This is a useful method as long as the purpose of the study is to define how game mechanics and layout are formed. However, the use of this perspective in defining how games function as narratives is a mistake, since games do not adapt narrative methods from their predecessors, but from literature and other media. Another misconception is the possibility to generalize about games by looking at bestsellers. Since the game media is under constant development there is no way to say what it can and cannot do. What we today say is true, might tomorrow be contradicted and proven wrong with the next game release. Wolfgang Iser has formed a literary theory built on the communication between reader and text. He explains the grounds for this communication using the terms Repertoire, Strategies and Realization. Within a text’s strategies, Iser claims, communication is built on structured blanks that the reader is to fill in, and so become part of the productive process, creating the aesthetic object. Using these terms, and structured blanks in particular, I further on discuss how text and games share narrative and textual functions, using the role-playing game The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Namco Bandai Games) as an example.