The Character-World Relationship: Understanding Game Worlds Through a Character Framework
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Current frameworks, called in this thesis the narrative-world relationship and the infrastructure-world relationship, exclude characters as an element for locating information in imaginary worlds. This thesis introduces the character-world relationship as an additional framework for perceiving how the player makes sense of a game world as a hyperdiegesis of an imaginary world. Therefore, I ask the research question, “how do characters facilitate knowledge about game worlds and to what degree could they influence the player’s perception of that world?”. The implied player is constructed as a theoretical model to assist with the textual analysis conducted on the Kiseki series, a Japanese series of digital role-playing games. In the character-world relationship, characters are placed as the central element of games that, through their appearances, can create continuity between the various game instalments. They facilitate knowledge by acting as a gateway to the game world when they share information with the player, though it is mainly deep characters that can become these gateways as they are vital to the progression of the game’s plot. The multiple frames of knowledge that the player obtains from different characters when they act as gateways provide the player with a double awareness that offers her a form of additive comprehension that changes the meaning of events occurring in the Kiseki games. Regardless, since the character-world relationship is established through an analysis of a game world, the player-character is specifically influential to the player’s perception of that world. The player-character determines whether the player can obtain information from other characters depending on its personal position in the game world. Moreover, the player-character provides the player with a set of affordances that she can choose to act upon that enables her to attain additive comprehension, thereby partially influencing her perception of the game world herself as well.