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Realism, imagination and videogames


Many video games are narratives. They have a plot that takes place over time, characters that interact, a setting, and some form of conflict. Even first-person shooters are structured as stories in which the player is the hero involved in a conflict with others trying to kill the player-usually in an exotic setting. Other narrative games include adventure games, simulation games, and online multiplayer games. These stories range greatly in sophistication. Some are little more than high-tech games of tag with audio, visual, and sometimes haptic effects and a thin story line that stitches together the multiple stages that constitute the game. However, some adventure games are starting to develop more elegant stories. Some of the more recent multiplayer games (e.g., EverQuest) create immersive worlds in which real people interact in a complex world (see Chan & Vorderer, chap. 6, this volume; Peiia & Hancock. in press; Yee, 2001). Narratives in video games may have important effects. In one recent study, adding a story to a video game increased identification with characters and made the game more enjoyable and arousing (Schneider, Lang, Shin, & Bradley, 2004).

M.A. Shapiro
J. Pena-Hebron
J.T. Hancock
Playing Computer Games: Motives, Responses, and Consequences (pp. 275-290). New York: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.
Publication Date
January 1, 2006