During the last few years, a debate took place within the game scholars community. A debate that, it seems, opposed two groups: ludologists and narratologists. Ludologists are supposed to focus on game mechanics and reject any room in the field for analyzing games as narrative, while narratologists argue that games are closely connected to stories. This article aims at showing that this description of the participants is erroneous. What is more, this debate as presented never really took place because it was cluttered with a series of misunderstandings and misconceptions that need to be clarified if we want to seriously discuss the role of narrative in videogames.
Ludology, narratology, ludologist, narratologist, narrativism, narrativist.
This is an unusual article. My original intention was writing a paper on the role of narrative in videogames (through cutscenes and instructions) for conveying simulation rules. When I mentioned this to a colleague, he was shocked: he thought that, since I amknown as a ludologist, there was no way I could accept any role for narrative in games. Of course, I told him he was wrong and that such idea of ludology is totally erroneous. That misconception is, I think, a direct consequence of the so-called narratology versus ludology debate. I believe that this debate has been fueled by misunderstandings and that generated a series of inaccurate beliefs on the role of ludology, including that they radically reject any use of narrative theory in game studies.
Since I guess that I have been in a privileged position to witness the development of this debate over the last four years, I decided to write down a list of the most common misconceptions that it generated. It is not my main intention in this paper to support ludology but rather making explicit all the contradictions that prevented this debate from taking place. However, I do not pretend to be totally objective neither: I do not favor narrative as a privileged means for understanding videogames for reasons that have been previously exposed by several authors and are beyond the scope of this article. Finally, I would like to make clear that I will be speaking only for myself and I am the only responsible for all the opinions expressed in this article.
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