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Sebastian Domsch: Strategies against Structure: Video Game Terrorism as the Ultimate American Agency Narrative

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 This chapter will investigate how, within what I call the “Terrorist Narrative,” video game rules, affordances, and valorizations create narrative archetypes. In terms of the relation between games and narrative, the approach sketched here is a departure both from theories regarding games as either being or containing narratives, and also from my own earlier investigation into how game structures are semanticized. As I have argued elsewhere about the relationship between gameplay and narrative, a marked phenomenon in players’ interaction with game systems is what we might call a process of semanticization, since

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 players constantly increase or decrease the semantics they associate with the structures they encounter, (…) they ascribe additional meaning to them (creating what we might call a semantic surplus), or chose to ignore potential meaning attached to them. It is this process that leads to the potential experience of a game system as gameworld, as a fictional world with its own self-contained meaning and rules. (Domsch 18)

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 What happens is that players are charging game mechanics with meaning:

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Many games can be played successfully in a purely abstract way, that is, by taking into account nothing but the rule structure as a self-contained system referring to nothing outside of itself. But one thing that almost inevitably happens when human beings play games is that they will start to invest the elements of the game and its structure—and consequently their own actions and decisions—with meaning that is not reducible to gameplay functions. (Domsch 19)

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 In the following, I would like to go one step further and, instead of focusing on how the player processes the choices and actions that are derived from the rules, look at the way that the specific nature of specific rules themselves enables the emergence of narrative forms. As we will see, this happens on a much more abstract level than the concrete and specific semanticizations that happen all the time in playing, and in which players identify elements that they encounter in gameplay as existents in a more or less coherent storyworld. The narrative forms that emerge out of repeated experiences with rule structures are located on a higher level of abstraction and are much less diverse than concrete semanticization, which is why we might call them narrative archetypes.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 The notion of archetypal images and narratives has been analyzed repeatedly across the disciplines, from comparative religion studies and anthropology to psychoanalysis and literary and cultural studies, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century. The earliest approaches looked at archetypes as indications of shared mythologies, as exemplified in James George Frazer’s monumental study The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion from (first edition published in 1890, final edition 1915). One of Frazer’s central observations was that different cultures that were very unlikely to have been in contact with each other throughout their history nevertheless featured stories with remarkable similarities in their mythologies. A few years later, the Swiss psychoanalyst C. G. Jung looked at archetypes in connection to what he had termed ‘the collective unconscious.’ Jung’s hypothesis was that indeed any direct influence was unnecessary, that the similar mythologies were merely differing manifestations of structures deep in the human unconscious. It was these structures that Jung termed archetypes; they manifest themselves not only in myth and in dreams but in the finished art of cultures like our own. Thus we could say that for Jung, archetypes were expressive of psychological affordances. Maud Bodkin, one of the first scholars to apply Jung’s ideas to literature, rejected this notion that archetypes are “stamped upon the physical organism” or “inherited in the structure of the brain,” (Bodkin 4), but the notion of archetypal forms and narratives was very productively appropriated by literary scholars, with Northup Frye as the most prominent example, both through his essay “The Archetypes of Literature” (1951) and his landmark monograph The Anatomy of Criticism (1957). Jung had laid the foundation for this through his interest in how archetypes manifested themselves not only in dreams, but also in myths, fairy tales, and other cultural productions.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 What all of these approaches have in common with each other and with my own is that they look at the content of narrative, yet they are less interested in the concrete manifestations than in structures that emerge out of the comparison of a lot of individual narratives. Where they—and I—differ is largely in their explanations for the reasons why specific forms reoccur so frequently and become so pervasive within our attempts at making sense of the world. The focus of the following will therefore be on how narrative archetypes might be following directly out of rule structures (without a necessary connection to the semantic surplus) and also on their (subsequent) interrelation with society and culture. It could, for example, be argued that they also function as meta-narratives or grand récits that make attempts at world-understanding through narrative constructs.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Video games have developed a number of distinct archetypal narrative structures that are specific to this medium because of the way that they interact with gameplay elements, particularly the rule structures. These narrative archetypes emerge because of specific gameplay demands, affordances, and limitations, while at the same time working to integrate gameplay mechanics into a coherent fictional world. Thus, they are (relatively) independent of the concrete game semantics: though they are enforced by the specific details and proper names of the individual fictional narratives, they work in a much more general sense.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 First of all, they are certainly below the level of fictional meaning or diegetic presentation of a game. It is of course on this level that narrative content is most frequently and most extensively written into the game—or rather, onto the game, like a skin or covering, which can often be exchanged with little to no effect on the way that the game works as a game. This can be seen best in serialized games that stick to a core set of gameplay mechanics while widely varying the game’s diegetic presentation, like the Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed games. While the diegetic representation of Far Cry 3 (2012) suggests that the game is set in the present on a Pacific island, and that of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (2012) in a weird, 1980s-themed retro-future, both games as games are remarkably but unsurprisingly similar, given that they are based on the same game engine.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 But while being relatively independent of the presentation level of a game, these narrative archetypes are also “above” any purely abstract formulation of game mechanics. They cannot be reduced to the mere rule structure. Instead, they are located in that conceptual space where game rules cannot be made sense of without any semantically charged reference. These are usually rules about values that hold in the context of a game, but also its particular affordances.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 To get a better understanding of this, we need to look at the interplay between rules, affordances, and valorizations. All of these terms are different approaches to the fact that games usually contain an understanding of what players, can, cannot, and should do, and that this understanding is distinct from what pertains to the real world. In some games, we can fly but cannot open a door without a lock or jump over a knee-high fence, or we should steal money or even kill someone. The concept of rules is a set of instructions or commands, which is explicitly embodied in the game’s code, but often only partly visible to players. The notion of affordances, on the other hand, rather looks at the elements of the game that the player encounters through actual gameplay and at the actions that these elements make possible or exclude—what they afford to the player. The idea of affordances was popularized in design theory by Don Norman in his The Design of Everyday Things. According to Norman,

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 [t]he term affordance refers to the relationship between a physical object and a person (or for that matter, any interacting agent, whether animal or human, or even machines and robots). An affordance is a relationship between the properties of an object and the capabilities of the agent that determine just how the object could possibly be used. (Norman 11)

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 To expand from a consideration of mere rules to the broader and less strict consideration of affordances seems apt with a view to the growing complexity of games and particularly the growing emphasis of many genres on the player’s freedom to act, as is exemplified in the trend toward open-world structures or paidea-oriented games such as Minecraft.[1] Another difference between rules and affordances is that while rules can be thought of as a property of games, “affordance is not a property. An affordance is a relationship” (Norman 11).

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Game rules are straightforward and unambiguous in theory, providing concrete limitations and affordances to players, but they are only communicated to the player to a very limited degree. In fact, it is one of the features of digital games that they can neglect the direct communication of their own rules to the players because they can enforce them. Players can simply try out what is possible and what is not, and the game will let them know—something that does not work with a physical chess board.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Games therefore rarely come with an instruction manual nowadays. Instead, because game designers also do not want players to endlessly and frustratingly learn about the gameplay through trial-and-error, games use what Norman has called “signifiers”: “To be effective, affordances and anti-affordances have to be discoverable—perceivable. (…) If an affordance or anti-affordance cannot be perceived, some means of signaling its presence is required: I call this property a signifier” (11-12). To the extent that games are simulations and therefore representations of aspects of the real world, these in-game signifiers are combined with what is supposed to act as signifiers in the real world. The image of a door with a doorknob presents the signifier that this door is meant to be opened—though within the game, the door might not have this function at all (similarly, William Gaver further distinguishes affordances into perceptible, hidden, and false).

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 The player therefore constantly needs to negotiate these two systems of affordances/signifiers, gradually coming to an understanding of “what is to be done” in the game. “Playing a game means, in most cases, to develop our avatar further, to learn to control the game, and to adapt our actions to the affordances of the game software” (Wenz 313). Both real-world reference and fictional meaning are helpful in communicating information about the affordances: “In abstract games, gameplay can provide a type of interest that is independent of narrative, while at the same time the fiction of most contemporary video games helps players understand the affordances of the underlying rule system” (Juul 432).

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 A further distinction to be made concerns the difference between those rules of a game system that describe what a player can or cannot do in any given situation from those that describe what she should do. As I have argued in Storyplaying,

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 all games that belong to the ludus category also contain at least one rule that defines the valorisation of the outcomes. This valorisation is not the same as the fact that outcomes might have different values, such as the rules that attribute different numerical values depending on where a dart hits a dartboard. It is only the valorisation that determines whether it is actually the higher, or the lower number that is ‘better.’ (150)

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 I want to argue that valorization rules play a role in the negotiation of gameplay affordances that they do not in relation to the affordances of objects in real life. In reality, affordances are amoral, unconcerned with how things should be used. An AR-15 rifle is not very good for hunting or for personal protection, since it is relatively unwieldy and cannot be concealed. It might have been designed with military confrontation in mind, and it affords this usage, but it also affords to be used in a mass shooting. There might be ethical considerations involved in the creation of these affordances, but these are not applicable to the object itself, since there is no “cosmic rule” that creates a need to use it. This should not be confused with a pre-existing need, in relation to which the object then might serve a purpose or not. Being hungry would be such a need, to which I might then relate the AR-15, finding in the process that it does not afford eating, that it does afford hunting to a limited degree, and that it does afford holding a whole restaurant hostage. But there is usually no need to use an object that is inherent in the object itself, in its mere presence in the world. We might be inclined to understand the presence of an object as an invitation to use it, but this is not objectively justifiable.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 This becomes more understandable when we compare it to the situation in a video game. In a variation of the principle of Chekov’s gun (if a gun is present on the stage in the first act of a play, it ‘should’ go off at some point later in the play), players will assume by default that a game’s rules, and particularly its affordances, will have a purpose. Because of the controlled and fabricated nature of game systems, they can get around the is/ought problem (also known as Hume’s guillotine, the fact that it is impossible to derive an ought from an is). The attitude of a player is usually: “If I can do this, it must mean that I should do this.” This means that specific affordances, choices, actions, and their consequences gain a significance that is both cultural and narrative (for a related account, see Ian Bogost’s concept of “procedural rhetoric”).

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Theoretically, the specific fictional framework—the semantic presentation of a game—could work to subvert or deconstruct such archetypal narratives, but as they are so intimately connected to the gameplay and its imperatives, this has rarely happened so far. Take an example from the area of navigation: the existence of navigable space in video games can be understood to mean that spatial movement, navigation, and exploration are valued in themselves. Mastering the game space by moving through it has been one of the core challenges in video games since their beginning, so if players encounter a space, they will assume that it is “good” to explore it—because why else would the designers have created it? This is also true if the game semantics, the diegesis, at the same time (seemingly) discourage spatial exploration. For example, on the game The Path (2009), developed by Tale of Tales, the player controls the character of one of six sisters, who is in a forest and on a path. The instructions that appear on the screen say: “Go to Grandmother’s house and stay on the path.” Yet if the player follows this order and refrains from exploring the forest in any way, she will most of not all of the game, and will be unable to finish it. Another very nice example, first released in 2015, is the aptly titled Please, Don’t Touch Anything, in which the player is, of course, expected to disregard exactly this request.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 There are a number of narrative archetypes that can be found to emerge out of different interplays between game rules, affordances, valorizations, and semantic presentations, among them navigation (the “colonial narrative”), survival (“memento mori”), accumulation / attrition (the “capitalist narrative”), and destruction (the “terrorist narrative”). These have not been described or formalized in any way so far, though they provide a rich area of analysis.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 “Capitalist narrative,” for example, is a (slightly polemical) term suggested for the pervasive success of motivation through accumulation in video games and the introduction of a virtual work ethic into gameplay. The basic assertions of this narrative are “more is better” and “effort equals gain.” This can either be in a non-competitive context (as exemplified by most incremental games of the infamous Cookie Clicker-variant), or in a zero-sum framework, in which one player’s loss is another’s gain.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 The main aspects that contribute to the development of the “memento mori” (survival) archetype are the frequently antagonistic nature of games, the vulnerability of the player character, and the limitation of his resources, which lead to strategies of evasion, the hostility of an environment that needs to be crossed in order to reach safety, the illusiveness of the environment, often conveyed through maze-like structures and limited illumination, and the isolation of the player character within the environment and in relation to other players. Opponents are not understood as executing parts of a larger organization, but as individual carriers of a principle directly threatening the player.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 And finally, the narrative archetype that emerges out of the gameplay affordance of destruction leads to what I have (again somewhat polemically) called “the terrorist narrative”. More neutrally, it could be described as the story of individual agency destabilizing a restrictive or limiting system or structure. Many gameplay features regularly found in video games are conducive to the forming of this particular archetype. In fact, it is tied to one of the core affordances of video games as dynamic game systems, namely that they are better suited than most other game systems for single-player playing. In video games, the game system itself can take on the role of opponent. Because of their dynamic nature, video games can do two things that other, non-dynamic media cannot: they can enforce the rules by which they are to be engaged, and they can and initiate processes that are unrelated to the user’s input, but that can still be “intercepted” by the player.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 This is why only dynamic media such as digital systems can create successful single-player games that do not rely on the player’s cognitive limitations. Single-player modes mean that individuals are not pitted against each other but one player against the game, and since games are often presented as a simulation of the or a world, the player is consequently also often pitted against “the world” (or the system). In game design, this is usually called player versus environment (PvE), as opposed to player versus player (PvP). In such cases, the player is invited to regard the environment, its elements, and particularly its structural makeup not merely as a visual display to be enjoyed aesthetically, or a space to be explored by navigation, but as a potential enemy and therefore as something that can and possibly should be destroyed or controlled. Indeed, the destructibility of elements with the gamespace has become an important aspect for game design at least in some genres.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Many games today contain physics engines that model the correct physical behavior of objects in the gamespace, which means that changes to the environment (particularly through the influence of physical force, such as gunshots or explosions) are not just pre-programmed in a fixed way (as in arcade-style shoot-‘em-ups), but are generated procedurally. The result is that objects react in a contingent but physically consistent way: structures collapse, but they do so depending on the impact, and the results are highly varied—and therefore entertaining to experience. Games like the Angry Birds franchise have very successfully built their whole gameplay around the challenge and joy of toppling physical structures. An important principle for this gameplay is that even large structures have weak points, and that relatively small causes can lead to large effects through faithfully rendered chain reactions. In this, the conceptual parallels to the way that terrorism conceives of the opposition of agency to structure should become apparent, and if it sounds far-fetched when dealing with cute cartoon birds being thrown into toy towers, games like the Red Faction and Just Cause franchises spell it out much more precisely, since in both the player is cast as some kind of subversive oppositional agent up against a sinister political power, and the physical structures that are being gleefully destroyed with everything from a sledgehammer to carefully placed bombs model (relatively) realistic buildings.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Another relevant aspect is the use of violence as a communicative strategy. Video games are often filled with non-player characters (NPCs) that the player can interact and communicate with. Most of the communication is indeed scripted, i.e. it is based on pre-existing text, with the player’s (and through the code also the NPC’s) only activity a selection between a finite set of options. To procedurally generate communication is much more difficult and rarely attempted—with the exception of the “communication” that emerges out of violence. Indeed, if one accepts that violence is communication in the sense that it communicates meaning, it is one of the “communicative strategies” most easily reproducible through gameplay. This connects it particularly to terrorism as communication. Alex P. Schmid and Janny de Graaf have pointed to the instrumentalization of violence as communication with particular reference to terrorism, claiming that “terrorism cannot be understood only in terms of violence,” since “terrorism does not murder to kill somebody, but to obtain a certain effect upon others than the victim. Terrorism, by using violence against one victim, seeks to persuade others.” Therefore, they argue, “terrorism can best be understood as a violent communication strategy. There is a sender, the terrorist, a message generator, the victim, and a receiver, the enemy and/or the public. The nature of the terrorist act, its atrocity, its location and the identity of its victim serve as generators for the power of the message”(Schmid and de Graaf 14-15).

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 To reiterate: This is not about the concrete semantics of any given game. It is therefore not about the fact that some games like Rainbow 6 or Splinter Cell represent terrorism, or even, like America’s Army, Modern Warfare 2, and Medal of Honor: Warfighter, enable the player to act as a terrorist. In “Being a Terrorist: Video Game Simulations of the Other Side of the War on Terror,” Marcus Schulzke analyzes the latter three games with regard to whether they enable the player to better understand terrorism and its contexts and motivations, concluding:

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 popular games ultimately deliver experiences of terrorist subjectivities that have virtually no content and that leave terrorists almost indistinguishable from the games’ heroes. The terrorists whose viewpoints are shown are portrayed as people who engage in senseless acts of violence that are disconnected from motives or grievances. This leads the games to confirm the overarching War on Terror narrative that terrorists are irrational and evil enemies who are unworthy of respect. (1)

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 This is, in a way, exactly my point: the game mechanics and game rules can and will often be in contradiction to what the game seems to “be about.” The reason for the notion of a “terrorist narrative” archetype rather lie in the way that one can conceive of this antagonism between agency and structure in general terms, particularly with a reference to sociological theories of agency.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 In its most rudimentary definition, agency is the capacity of an actor to act in a given environment. It is a term that is prominent in philosophy, particularly in moral philosophy and investigations of determinism and free will, but it is also a central term within both sociology and game studies. In video games, agency is an important term that should, for clarification’s sake, be clearly distinguished from interactivity. While interactivity in most definitions merely marks the ability to influence something reciprocally, while disregarding the level of significance of the action and reaction, the question of agency as it is here understood weighs on the potential (narrative) consequence of a player’s decisions and actions. Janet Murray has used the term agency in this sense in her concept of interactive storytelling. For her, “[a]gency is the satisfying power to make meaningful action and to see the results of our decisions and choices” (126). The appeal of video games lies in their promise of agency, in the promise of an openness that is dependent on the player and her choices. Creating the experience of (player) agency is one of the primary goals of game design, particularly in single-player games.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 PvE games routinely put the player in a position of restricted agency, putting obstacles against spatial movement or choices. In addition, the experience of player agency is heightened by creating the impression that the player is up against a force greater than herself (often when the game is not imitating an opponent that is basically identical to the player, as in a chess game). This impression is sometimes expressed in the number or size of the enemies. The fact that they appear in endless waves surely suggests a sender who is “greater” than the individual enemies. But this impression usually entails the understanding that the enemies are part of a larger organization, system, or structure, and that it is the structure that must ultimately fall for the waves of individual enemies to end.

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 This ties in with sociological discussions of agency that are concerned with its relation to the wide-ranging and occasionally “nebulous” concept of “structure” (Elder-Vass 1), which has become the favored term for the sociocultural context in which agency exists. Structure can be seen as the recurrent patterned arrangements that influence or limit the choices and opportunities available. In this sense, structure can refer to systems of social organization, such as the class system, but also to institutions and all forms of the organization of social or political power. It is the set of rules that organize and guide the social networks that bind us together, and ultimately the whole range of social norms that shape our individual behavior as well as the behavior of larger social units.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 0 How the interaction between individual agency and structure works and how both are to be evaluated is highly contested in social and political theories. In general, agency can be seen as an opposition to structure, a symbiotic confirmation of structure, or a result of structure. Already in Hobbes, structure and agency are ambivalently related, in that structure, in the form of the state (Leviathan) takes away individual agency but also enables it by limiting that of others in the war of all against all. There is a tradition of critiques of social structures as opposed to individual agency, ranging from Marx and Engels through Louis Althusser to Michel Foucault.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 One can look at the agency/structure relationship in different forms of (antagonistic/violent) power relations: in the state of anarchy, there is no structure, and every individual agency is up against each other’s (this is the Hobbesian motif of homo homine lupus, or in video game terms a battle royale mechanic like in Fortnite). In most social contract theories, individual agency is limited by structure, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily. In conventional warfare, two structures compete with each other while leaving the idea of structure untouched. In guerrilla warfare, individual agency is used against structure, usually with the aim of setting up a new structure. Mao Zedong, one of the most prominent proponents of guerilla warfare, was careful to note the point at which this type of warfare must be given up so as not to endanger one’s own structure-building (cf. Dyer 399).

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Terrorism, finally, tends toward a pure assertion of anti-structure. As Jürgen Habermas has stated: “Global terrorism is extreme both in its lack of realistic goals and in its cynical exploitation of the vulnerability of complex systems” (Borradori 34) In this context, it can also be understood as at least an implicit celebration of (individual) agency. Right from its conceptual beginnings, terrorist ideology emphasized the agentic over discursive, as in Johann Most’s “Action as Propaganda” from 1885: “we preach not only action in and for itself, but also action as propaganda” (qtd. in Kemp 48).[2] This is where the structural affinities lie with video games in general, who are all about emphasizing and celebrating (the player’s) agency, and gameplay features in particular that afford the chain reaction scenarios in which David is repeatedly able to topple Goliath by finding the right weak spot.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 To call this narrative archetype the “terrorist narrative” is certainly not meant to imply that video games in some ways argue in favor of terrorism or create training situations for would-be terrorists, not least since that would mean to regress back to the level of semantic presentation. Celebration of agency means that the player is conceived of as an agent in the philosophical or sociological sense, not necessarily as an agent of the CIA (as in Just Cause). As the use of the term “archetype” implies, the phenomenon is more abstract than concrete individual realizations, though it can be observed through its manifestations in specific cases. The preceding allusion to David and Goliath already indicated that the narrative archetype is much older than both video games and terrorism as it emerged since the late nineteenth century. Yet the archetypes sketched out in the preceding have rarely been identified or described in this way, because it is only by approaching them through gameplay structures that they can be made it visible. As the experience of playing video games becomes more pervasive in contemporary society, they will create, solidify, or modify the human repertoire of archetypal narratives, thereby showing yet another way in which video games partake in the formation of a shared cultural mythology.


39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 Works Cited

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 Bodkin, Maud. Archetypal Patterns in Poetry. Oxford UP, 1934.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 Bogost, Ian. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Video Games. MIT Press, 2007.

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 Borradori, Giovanna. Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. U of Chicago P, 2003.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 Clymer, Jeffory A. America’s Culture of Terrorism: Violence, Capitalism, and the Written Word. U of North Carolina P, 2003.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Domsch, Sebastian. Storyplaying: Agency and Narrative in Video Games. De Gruyter, 2013.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 Dubbelman, Teun. “Narrative Game Mechanics.” Interactive Storytelling: 9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2016, Los Angeles, CA, USA, November 15-18, 2016, Proceedings, edited by Frank Nack and Andrew S. Gordon, Springer, 2004, pp. 39-50.

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 Dyer, Gwynne. War: The Lethal Custom. Rev. ed. Carroll & Graf, 2004.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 Elder-Vass, Dave. The Causal Power of Structures: Emergence, Structure and Agency. Cambridge UP, 2010.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 El-Shamy, Hasan M., and Jane Garry, editors. Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature: A Handbook. M.E. Sharpe, 2005.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 Gaver, William W. “Technology Affordances. CHI ’91 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The Association of Computing Machinery, 1991, pp. 79-84.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 Juul, Jesper. “Narrative.” Encyclopedia of Video Games. The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming, edited by Mark J.P. Wolf, vol 2, Greenwood, 2012, pp. 430-33.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 Kemp, Michael. Bombs, Bullets and Bread: The Politics of Anarchist Terrorism Worldwide, 1866-1926. McFarland, 2018.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 Murray, Janet H. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace . Cambridge UP, 2001.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Norman, Don. The Design of Everyday Things. Basic Books, 2002.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 Pinchbeck, Dan. “Counting Barrels in Quake 4: Affordances and Homodiegetic Structures in FPS Worlds.” DiGRA 2007 Conference Proceedings. http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/counting-barrels-in-quake-4-affordances-and-homodiegetic-structures-in-fps-worlds. Accessed 30 Nov. 2018.

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 ———. “An Affordance Based Model for Gameplay.” DiGRA 2009 Conference Proceedings. http://www.digra.org/dl/db/09287.31155.pdf#_blank. Accessed 30 Nov. 2018.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 Richter, David H., editor. The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. 3. ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 Schmid, Alex P., and Janny de Graaf. Violence as Communication: Insurgent Terrorism and the Western News Media. Sage Press, 1982.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 Schulzke, Marcus. “Being a Terrorist: Video Game Simulations of the Other Side of the War on Terror.” Media, War & Conflict, vol. 6, no. 3, 2013, pp. 207-20. doi:10.1177/1750635213494129. Accessed 30 Nov. 2018.

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 Wenz, Karin. “Death.” The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies, edited by Mark J.P. Wolf and Bernard Perron, Routledge, 2014, pp, 310-16.


60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 [1] For another use of affordance in video game analysis, see Dan Pinchbeck’s essays “Counting Barrels” and “An Affordance Based Model for Gameplay.”

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 [2] Cf. also Sergey Nechayev: “far from everything that is nowadays called a deed is a deed (…). We term real manifestations only a series of actions which destroy something absolutely: a person, a thing, or an attitude which is an obstacle to the liberation of the people. (…)We have lost all faith in the word” (qtd. in Clymer 14).

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