HERMENEUTICS IN SIMULATED ENVIRONMENTS: THE LITERARY QUALITY OF DIGITAL ARTIFACTS
thesisposted on 16.12.2020, 18:12 by Steven James Koontz
The topic of video games is expansive, encompassing numerous domains that have yet to be thoroughly examined within a scholarly context. Modern games, especially those in the adventure and role-playing genres, are oftentimes heavily laden with text, and therefore serve as excellent subjects when formulating hermeneutical models for simulated virtual contexts. Furthermore, many games belong under the umbrella of literary studies due to their reliance upon text to forge interactive, fictional narratives. While this means many games possess qualities that render them germane to academics within the sphere of English studies, they remain neglected outliers due to manifold factors, ranging from outmoded biases against the medium, to a lack of established evaluative methodologies. As a result, the field is largely bereft of consensus strategies for engaging digital works featuring literary exposition and dialogue in the form of on-screen text; however, existing theories, including more abstruse ones relating to ergodic literature, hypertext and cybertext, provide a foundation on which to construct new modalities for assessing texts that exist within virtual environs. Research indicates that audience experiences in text-driven games are markedly different than those offered by analog texts due to their interactivity and non-linearity, thus reinforcing the need for the expansion of existing models. Of additional concern, analyses of modern text-oriented games prefigure some important implications for the areas of pedagogy and textual information conveyance in general. These considerations all coalesce to illustrate the exigency for a new or updated theory for understanding and interpreting text in digital substrates, ultimately allowing for inchoate and emergent art facilitated by technology to be recognized as academically relevant.