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Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation

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... Using the metaphor of the Holodeck from Star Trek, where one is fully saturated in a simulated world, Murray (1997) directly related immersion to storytelling when she observed that the guest entered the "story" through the simulator ride technology. Wolf (2012) posited that immersion is a process that involves "being surrounded or engulfed" in an imaginary world (p. 377). ...
... A review of the literature revealed a few categorizations of immersion. Wolf (2012), being closest to the narrative world, explained three levels of immersion: (a) Physical, physical saturation, where the "user is physically surrounded by constructed experience" (p. 377), (b) Sensual, sensory saturation, when "what the user sees and hears is part of the controlled experience" (p. ...
... 377). Wolf (2012) also hinted at Emotional, which elicits emotional responses, as emotional realism leads to more empathy, character identification, or suspension of disbelief. Lukas (2012) implied levels of immersion in theme parks ranging from lowest to highest, however failed to link narrative with each immersive level. ...
Article
Little is known about how visitors become immersed in theme park storytelling. As the first of its kind, this study investigated visitors’ immersion through storytelling experiences in Chinese domestic theme parks. This research pursued participants’ subjective interpretation of immersion and the elements that were essential in their experiences. Thirty visitors were interviewed and data were analyzed using an inductive-deductive approach. The findings revealed that the immersion through theme park storytelling involves four stages, namely spatial-temporal immersion, sensory immersion, conceptual-imaginative immersion, and emotional immersion. Drawing on the findings, this study developed a framework depicting the mechanism of immersion. Achieving an in-depth understanding of how visitors interact with stories in a themed and experiential context, this research makes theoretically meaningful additions to both narrative and psychological literature. It also enables the industry to better understand and manage the visitor experience at theme parks.
... En cuanto al canon, podríamos definirlo como todos los eventos, desarrollos y personajes que se han sucedido desde el punto de vista oficial (Wolf, 2013). Esta narrativa central en la constelación de medios es esencial para poder empezar a desarrollarse por otros caminos, muchas veces ampliándose de forma ambivalente las extensiones con este canon tal como ha pasado en grandes universos como Star Wars o Star Trek. ...
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El surgimiento de la narrativa transmedia tal como la conocemos hoy en día como una nueva forma de contar historias expandidas en múltiples plataformas, hace que diversos productos la adopten no sólo para su promoción sino como génesis de estos. En este artículo se hace un análisis del caso del videojuego de Blizzard, Overwatch. En esta revisión se profundiza en las extensiones canónicas planteadas desde la fuente oficial y cómo el fandom ha superado esas historias y planteado otras vías de narrativas.
... Theme parks utilize a "design story," wherein environments and living scenes are created for a more immersive guest experience (Lukas, 2012). Using a technique called environmental storytelling (Wolf, 2012), theme parks employ every facet of the built environment to craft a world and tell a story. ...
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Narrative has been emerging as a more prevalent concept in tourism contexts, but it has been less defined in literature on theme parks. This study, which investigates the leading 77 theme parks in three regions (North America, Asia, Europe), explores the presence of thematic and narrative features: themed lands, common themes, themed rides, narrative rides, explicit storytelling, and implicit storytelling. Results show that a great majority of the most visited theme parks in the sample have thematic and narrative characteristics, which provide appeal to visitors. The systematic understanding of the global prominence of on-site narratives at theme parks can contribute to the knowledge and practice of both leaders and scholars of these spaces.
... Los fans pueden apropiarse de los mundos narrativos, originalmente nacidos con el fin de generar ganancias, para crear obras derivadas sin que les mueva un objetivo comercial (Scolari, 2019, p. 46). Estas producciones guardan diferentes relaciones respecto al canon, es decir, la versión oficial de las franquicias, sus personajes, historias y reglas (Jenkins, 2006;Wolf, 2012;Pérez, 2015): desde adaptaciones y expansiones de dicho mundo ficcional hasta una resistencia al relato oficial, reconstruyéndolo y adaptándolo según su interés (Roig, 2017;Espinoza, 2021). Estos contenidos se distinguen por no ser canónicos, carecer de reconocimiento oficial, tener carácter amateur (Roig, 2017), ser paralelos a la industria (Abad, 2016), y difundidos en plataformas colaborativas como redes sociales, blogs o wikis (Guerrero-Pico & Scolari, 2016). ...
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La presente investigación pretende llenar el vacío académico existente sobre los fan films basados en videojuegos como estrategia de expansión transmediática. El objetivo es analizar cómo los seguidores del ocio interactivo aplican los principios de la narrativa transmedia a la hora de producir fan films como herramienta de apropiación y comprobar si respetan o subvierten el mundo ludoficcional. La metodología es descriptiva y basada en un análisis de contenido de 89 películas creadas por fans sobre sagas actuales de videojuegos, almacenadas en repositorios sobre fan films y en YouTube; se ahonda en los personajes, los eventos, la duración y el realismo de los metrajes respecto al canon oficial. Los resultados demuestran el interés por crear experiencias originales, pero respetando la franquicia interactiva con cortometrajes que completan los huecos argumentales a la vez que se expande el universo del juego con nuevos protagonistas y sucesos. Este trabajo revela la existencia de una profesionalidad detrás de estas producciones, más allá de ser prácticas aisladas y amateurs, y permite establecer un perfil sobre la publicación audiovisual prototípica de cara a futuros estudios en la materia.
... It is now tacitly accepted that media texts are fundamentally changing in character as emergent forms of fandom become an increasingly important cultural and economic force (Jenkins, 1992;Hills, 2002;Klastrup & Tosca, 2016), and transmedia seems to be becoming a dominant narrative regime (Jenkins, 2008;Wolf, 2012;Mittell, 2015;Thon, 2016); however, the nature, extent and value of those changes is still unclear. This paper is concerned with how audiences go about reading, understanding, dismantling and recombining texts in a changing media landscape, and also how Kingdom Hearts metaphorically depicts, reflects upon and ultimately encourages such processes. ...
Article
This paper draws on the theory of mastermind narration developed by M.J. Clarke in the context of prestige television dramas with highly complex non-linear narratives and inconsistent characters (Clarke, 2012) and Jason Mittell’s (2015) concept of ‘forensic fandom’ to offer a reading of the Kingdom Hearts (Square Enix, 2002-) franchise in light of postmodern practices of textual consumption characteristic of current fandoms, such as those explored by Henry Jenkins (2006) and Matt Hills (2002), but also addressing Japanese theorists Hiroki Azuma (2009) and Eiji Ōtsuka’s (2010) work around the notion of the Otaku. I argue that the series’ significant deviation from Disney’s traditional approach to narrative (Wasko, 2001) indicates a desire for the corporation to explore radical new forms of textual production, and to negotiate emerging fan consumption practices within the safe environment of a controlled and licensed text. Just as cultural theorists like Clarke and Anne Allison (2006) argue that a textual product can often contain traces that reflect its wider conditions of production, I propose that the Kingdom Hearts franchise can be read allegorically as an extended experiment by Disney into new forms of collaborative storytelling. I attempt to demonstrate this by concluding with an exploration of the metareflexive depiction of the fan practice of cosplay.
... Reżyser operuje ich symboliką i przekuwa popularne w tej części świata (Wyspy Brytyjskie) mity i historie ludowe w zupełnie nową opowieść o bólu, opuszczeniu, stracie oraz sile jaką daje rodzina. Ta baśń psychologiczna, zaklęta w niesamowicie pięknej wizualnie i tekstowo animacji, była już opisywana jako pomoc w znalezieniu sposobu na poradzenie sobie przez dziecko ze stratą bliskiej osoby (w tym przypadku ze stratą jednego z rodziców)57 . Jednak jednym z najbardziej fascynujących aspektów tej animacji jest osadzenie jej w kulturze i mitach dostępnych na wyciągnięcie ręki dla większości zachodniego świata, a w dużej mierze nieznanych, czy to z racji zatarcia przez inne (chrześcijańskie, starożytne, nordyckie), czy z powodu braku szeroko dostępnych, zrozumiałych dla wszystkich źródeł, które mogłyby służyć jako przewodnik po tych niezwykłych opowieściach 58 .Tomm Moore w mistrzowski wręcz sposób przybliża obraz Irlandii, widzianej przez pryzmat jej folkloru, jednocześnie wplatając w swą animację problem oderwania ludzi od Mythologies, then, provide historical depth, explanations, and purpose to the events of a world.[…] ...
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Praca licencjacka pt. „Kreacja świata we współczesnej baśni w oparciu o stare legendy, mitologie i wierzenia na przykładzie filmu Tomma Moore’a »Sekrety morza« (2014)” poświęcona jest analizie świata przedstawionego w irlandzkiej animacji fantastycznej „Sekrety morza” widzianego poprzez pryzmat celtyckich (głownie irlandzkich) mitów, postaci mitologicznych oraz symboli popularnych na terenach Wysp Brytyjskich w czasach panowania na nich języków staro i średnioirlandzkiego. W pracy wykorzystano kluczowe rozważania Johna Ronalda Reuela Tolkiena w „Drzewo i liść” na temat tworzenia światów fantastycznych (rządzących się własnymi prawami) w akcie twórczej kreacji, które poszerzono o refleksje Krzysztofa M. Maja o imersyjnym charakterze nowych światów, opartych na tym rzeczywistym w „Światotwórstwo w fantastyce. Od przedstawienia do zamieszkiwania”. Oprócz tego, zasięgnięto informacji na temat mitologii jako punktu wyjścia dla kreacji nowego świata w oparciu o „Building Imaginary Worlds” autorstwa Marka J.P. Wolfa. W rozdziale „Mitologia irlandzka jako punkt wyjścia nowej opowieści” dokonano podziału mitologii irlandzkiej na cztery Cykle: Mitologiczny, Ulsterski, Feniański i Historyczny. Opisano dwie mitologiczne postacie – Macha i Manannán mac Lir – bezpośrednio pojawiające się w animacji (choć w nieco zmienionej formie). Oprócz tego dokonano rozróżnienia dwóch kast irlandzkich poetów (filidów i bardów), wyjaśniono również rolę gawędziarzy (tzw. „seanchaithe”) będących częścią irlandzkiej społeczności. W drugim rozdziale zatytułowanym „Rola mitu w kreacji nowej rzeczywistości” dokonano dookreślenia terminu „mit” i zakresu używania go w kontekście analizy animacji „Sekrety morza”. Oprócz tego podjęto próbę definicji fantastyki i aktu światotwórczego znacznie opierającego się na opowieściach mitologicznych. W rozdziale ostatnim „Sposób operowania kulturą celtycką w kreacji świata przedstawionego” dokonano analizy animacji „Sekrety morza” ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem irlandzkich mitów, kultury i symboli wykorzystanych do zbudowania nowego świata. W konkluzji pracy wnioskuje się, że świat stworzony przez Tomma Moore’a w animacji fantastycznej „Sekrety morza” pomimo wplecenia weń elementów współczesnych zachowuje swój znajomy charakter, dzięki wykorzystaniu elementów znanych społeczności irlandzkiej (mitów, kultury i symboli irlandzkich). Oprócz tego pozostaje on przestrogą i przypomnieniem o ważności zachowania pamięci o przodkach i kulturze, a przez to ponownego połączenia z naturą i otaczającym nas środowiskiem. The thesis entitled “The Creation of the World in a Contemporary Fairy Tale Based on Old Legends, Mythologies, and Beliefs on the Example of Tomm Moore’s »Song of the Sea« (2014)” is dedicated to the analysis of the diegetic world in the Irish fantasy animated film “Song of the Sea” as seen through the prism of Celtic (mainly Irish) myths, mythological figures, and symbols popular in the British Isles during the reign of the Old and Middle Irish languages. The study uses crucial reflections from John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's “Tree and Leaf” on the subject of subcreation (governed by their own laws). The Tolkienian analysis was further developed to include Krzysztof M. Maj's reflections on the immersive nature of imaginary world-building in “Światotwórstwo w fantastyce. Od przedstawienia do zamieszkiwania [World-building in the Fantastic. From Representation to Inhabitation]” as well as “Building Imaginary Worlds” by Mark J.P. Wolf. In the chapter “Irish Mythology as the Starting Point for a New Story”, Irish mythology is divided into four Cycles: Mythological, Ulster, Fianna, and Historical. Described are two mythological figures – Macha and Manannán mac Lir – appearing directly in the animation (albeit in a slightly changed form). In addition, the distinction was made between two castes of Irish poets (filid and bards), and the role of the storytellers (“seanchaithe”), as being a part of the Irish community, was also clarified. In the second chapter, entitled “The Role of Myth in The Creation of a New Reality”, the term “myth” has been specified as well as its scope in reference to the analysis of the film “Song of the Sea”. In addition, an attempt has been made to define fantasy and the world-building act that is largely based on mythological storytelling. In the last chapter “The Use of Celtic Culture in the Creation of the Depicted World” an analysis of the animated film was made, with particular emphasis on Irish myths, culture, and symbols utilised to build the imaginary world. In conclusion, it is proposed that the world created by Tomm Moore, despite its contemporary elements, retains its familiar character, thanks to the elements known to the Irish community (Irish myths, culture and symbols). In addition, it provides a warning and a reminder of the importance of preserving the memory of our ancestors and culture in order to reestablish a connection with nature and the surrounding environment.
... Anthropologists and media studies scholars, such as Mark Wolf, point out that imaginary worlds have always been part of human cultural practice. The term "world" in this context encompasses, "everything that is experienced by the characters involved, the elements enfolding someone's life" (Wolf, 2013). Virtually, all cultures create such worlds that they then "decouple" from everyday experience. ...
Article
Game engines have come to feature in areas well beyond gaming—such as architecture, artificial intelligence, manufacturing, public planning, and film and television production. Accordingly, companies developing, providing, and maintaining game engines—such as Epic Games or Unity Technologies—are set to become influential actors in all social and economic arenas that start to rely on game engines for the provision of software or services. This makes them an important subject to the study of platforms as they provide increasingly crucial building blocks in the digitization of economic, political, and social life. In this article, we present three dimensions demonstrating platform functions of game engines beyond gaming. We rely on the example of two important game engine developers: Epic Games and Unity Technologies. The dimensions are (1) the growing area of extended reality applications, (2) cross-platform and cross-media story- and brand worlds, and (3) the management of user payments, identities, and social graphs. The article shows how companies providing game engines challenge the current balance of power between established platform companies, demonstrating that game engines have emerged as an important new type of platform that demands academic and public attention.
... And there is a growing interest in studying on academic grounds. Studies like "Allegories of space: The question of spatiality in computer games" (Aarseth, 2001), "The Role of architecture in video games" (Adams, 2002), "The importance of architecture in video games" (Brouchoud, 2013), and "Building imaginary worlds: The theory and history of Subcreation" (Wolf, 2012) can be considered as pioneers. Therefore, the use of architecture in video games is a popular subject. ...
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This study aims to evaluate the structures of Azeroth, the fictional built world of the World of Warcraft video game, as samples of vernacular architecture. Therefore, the scope of the study contains video game architecture, vernacular architecture, and structure samples from the mentioned video game. For the methods of the study, first, the storytelling and worldbuilding concepts are investigated. Then, the use of architecture in video games is analyzed in the light of pioneer academic studies. Moreover, the term vernacular architecture is introduced to name the structure of World of Warcraft as samples of it. The elements affecting the design of vernacular architecture samples are mentioned. Finally, in the case study, the settlements and the structures of the fictional races with distinct cultures, from the mentioned video game, are studied in detail. And in result, some unique determinations of mentioned game’s use of architecture, in both videogame architecture and fictional vernacular architecture terms, are proposed.
... The idea of setting, or material worldbuilding, is the most used element of theme design and one of the medium's core characteristics (Baker, 2018). Theme parks are created with "environmental storytelling" (Jenkins, 2004;Wolf, 2012) where worlds are built and components from architecture and music to props and lighting effects convey multi-layered narratives to guests. The adrenaline rush of the roller coaster or the multi-sensory immersion into a dark ride's storyworld are facets of the theme park's focus on environment. ...
Article
Theme parks are sites of popular imagination and cultural touchstones. What the COVID-19 pandemic taught is that they are also compelling when closed. This article focuses on fannish activities exemplified by imaginative posts and sweding videos from #HomemadeDisney and others during the period when global Disney theme parks were closed. This hashtag became a virtual communal space, the site of anxiety and brand loyalty but also invention and creation. Through a textual analysis of these posts, it is possible to grasp participatory culture’s role in contemporary life, the value of affinity groups, the power of social media in brand co-creation, the shifting of fan invention techniques, and the role of influential consumers in inspiring others through creative communication. #Homemade projects exemplified the process of creating virtual homes even as so many remained quarantined in physical homes, with the theme park part of the concept of home.
... Evitaremos, por fim, usar o termo serialização como sinônimo de narrativas seriadas continuadas.76 Aportes sobre o tema já estão presentes no debate científico sobre o assunto tendo sido destacado os aspectos mercadológicos(FREEMAN, 2014;HADAS, 2014), a comunidade de fãs (CHANEY; LIEBLER, 2007) e a estrutura dos mundos(WOLF, 2012). ...
... Los patrones de las formas narrativas se conectan con el conocimiento anterior en el cerebro y se contextualizan dentro de las normas y valores sociales existentes (Warren, Wakefield y Mill, 2013). La narración de cuentos es una actividad interesante "Los mundos imaginarios son disfrutados no solo por quienes los visitan, sino también por quienes inventan" (Wolf 2013) y se utilizan como una oportunidad de aprendizaje para crear contenido y conectarse con el contexto (Rodrígues y Bidarra 2014). ...
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Las herramientas educativas asíncronas en la modalidad de estudios a distancia deben considerarse una oportunidad para generar competencias transversales en los estudiantes. El presente artículo explora un nuevo enfoque de participación de los estudiantes en un foro académico en línea, con el objetivo de crear narraciones digitales y examinar la interacción colaborativa en los estudiantes de la Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Ecuador)-Modalidad Abierta y A Distancia. La participación de los estudiantes consistió en construir de forma ordenada y colaborativa una narración. Cada estudiante aportó con un máximo de 50 palabras y participó tres veces en el foro. Al final de la actividad se elaboró una narración inédita de 2700 palabras. La mayoría de los estudiantes expresaron de forma positiva que el foro fue innovador, original e interesante, donde pudieron potencializar su creatividad, pensamiento, interacción y trabajo en equipo. Esto refleja que explorar nuevos enfoques en los foros en línea resultaría muy productivo para estudiantes que cursan estudios a distancia.
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This thesis aims to tension the view of mitigating uncertainties present in the methods of building scenarios in design. The objective is to propose an imaginative- speculative narrative method of scenario construction as part of a procedural action in design that instigates the designer to explore and experience other readings of the world through fictional narratives, in particular, guided by the Science Fiction genre. The relevance of this approach lies in the search for methodological innovation, in which the process is not motivated by possible worlds or by speculations that are anchored to the need to make plausible visions of the future of materialization. Thinking about the near future at the literary threshold makes it an artifice to explore the paths that are built in the course of the experience by the narrative, whose consequences are opportunities to obtain other readings of the world. The research method is marked by two movements, the first, theoretical, aims to learn from the literature review and build a first theoretical framework that guides, but does not imprison, the paths of this thesis. And, a second, concomitant to the first, guided by action research, whose exploratory and qualitative nature of the research is approached as a cyclical process of learning and evolution towards the design method. Action research cycles follow three procedures: a reflection moment on the previous cycle and planning for practical action; an action moment in the workshop for the construction of narratives, which includes designers and non-designers; and a last one of feedback destined to the final questions about the perceptions of the subjects. The second procedure of each cycle, the workshop, is handled by protocol analysis. At the end of the research, it is discovered that narrating in fictional worlds is not an experience so easily obtained. The designers needed help to detach themselves from the linear and rational anchoring that permeates the scenario construction process. As a result, in addition to the proposition of the method that emphasizes in its moments the metaphor of the traveler who builds paths as he walks, tools such as speculative charts were also created that help designers allow themselves to imagine and speculate with Science Fiction. Fictionalizing generated an interpretive process between worlds and allowed re(thinking) the designers' previous experiences through symbolic language.
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Os videogames evoluem em sua forma e linguagem constantemente e concomitantemente com os avanços tecnológicos. Cada nova geração de console inaugura novas potencialidades e formas de jogo. Nesta perspectiva, é imperativo que os estudos acerca dos videogames acompanhem essa evolução e ressignifique os entendimentos referentes às possibilidades de discurso que os avanços tecnológicos propiciam à experiência imersiva dos jogos. Sendo os videogames uma mídia interativa, a ação dramática que influencia as histórias acontece a partir da ação do jogador em um espaço projetado digital. Diante disso, a presente tese busca compreender como acontece a relação entre o level design e a arquitetura, no sentido de engajar e provocar o jogador ao criar experiências distintas nos diferentes gêneros de jogos, dado que, nos videogames, as próprias mecânicas de gameplay influenciam a consolidação desses gêneros. Para tal compreensão, a pesquisa foi articulada a fim de desenvolver uma taxonomia a respeito do level design, a qual acontece através de uma pesquisa bibliográfica, que tangencia conhecimentos referentes a videogames, mais especificamente ao level design, à arquitetura e à arquitetura narrativa. Após o desenvolvimento de tal classificação, são realizados cinco estudos de caso, que visam aplicar e testar a taxonomia. Dessa forma, foi possível conceituar os princípios de level design e compreender como ele se apropria dos estilos arquitetônicos tencionando a criação de experiências imersivas complexas, que funcionam em diferentes composições espaciais. A arquitetura sendo um agente importante da composição lúdica dos jogos, atua como um elemento de suporte ao gameplay. Assim, o estudo referente à arquitetura acontece sob a perspectiva de diferentes jogos que emulam ou referenciam estilos arquitetônicos visando a experiência narrativa, além de outras funções inerentes aos videogames, como definir limites, proporcionar estratégias de jogo ou mesmo estabelecer relações entre agentes narrativos. Desse modo, este estudo pretende estabelecer critérios de análise e desenvolvimento de level design a partir de uma arquitetura narrativa.
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This dissertation outlines a mythological framework for understanding how games produce meaning. The central question is: how does a mythological approach help to understand the way games make meaning? I first theorise mythology as it applies to games and play. This is expressed through a cycle showing how mythology is embedded into the production of games as well as how it impacts the playing and interpretation of games. This is then operationalised as a method for the analysis of games. I call my theorisation and analytical approach mytholudics. With this established, I apply mytholudics in ten analyses of individual games or game series, split into two lenses: heroism and monstrosity. Finally, I reflect on these analyses and on mytholudics as an approach. Mythology here is understood primarily from two theoretical perspectives: Roland Barthes’ theory outlined in Mythologies (1972/2009) and Frog’s (2015, 2021a) understanding of mythology in cultural practice and discourse from a folklore studies perspective. The Barthesian approach establishes myth as a mode of expression rather than as an object, a mode that is therefore prevalent in all forms of media and meaning-making. This mode of expression has naturalisation as a key feature, by which the arbitrariness of second-order signification is masked. Otherwise arbitrary relations between things are made to seem obvious and natural. Frog’s mythic discourse approach understands mythology as “constituted of signs that are emotionally invested by people within a society as models for knowing the world” (2021a, p. 161). Frog outlines mythic discourse analysis as a method which focuses on the comparison of mythic discourse over time and across cultures. Barthes and Frog broadly share an understanding of mythology as a particular way of communicating an understanding of the world through discourse. From this perspective, mythology is not limited to any genre, medium or cultural context. It can include phenomena as diverse as systems, rules, customs, behaviours, rituals, stories, characters, events, social roles, motifs, spatial configurations, and so on. What is important is how these elements are placed in relation to one another. This stands in contrast to certain understandings of myth which may position it as a narrative genre or a socioreligious function of ‘primitive’ societies. Games consist of the same diverse elements arranged in comparable configurations, and so this perspective highlights the otherwise hidden parallels between mythology and games. Therefore, a mythological approach can help us to understand the game as an organising structure in which different and diverse elements are put into relation with one another in order to produce meaning. To develop this framework, I argue for analysing games as and through myth. Games as myth means viewing the game as an organising structure that works analogously to mythology. Elements are constructed and put into relation with one another within a gameworld, which the player then plays in and interprets. Games through myth means seeing games as embedded within cultural contexts. The cultural context of development affects the mythologies that can be seen to influence the construction of the game, while the cultural context of the player affects how they relate to and interact with the game and the mythologies channelled through it. With the theorisation and methodology laid out, I exemplify the mytholudic approach by applying it to ten analyses of individual games or game series, split into two chapters of five analyses each. The first considers the games through the lens of heroism, defined as the positive mythologisation of an individual. To help with comparison and understanding, I outline a number of hero-types, broad categories based on different rhetorics of heroism. These include the hero-victim, the hero-sceptic, the preordained hero and the unsung hero. The examples analysed are the Call of Duty series (2003–2022), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Game Studios, 2011), the Assassin’s Creed series (2007–2022), Heaven’s Vault (Inkle, 2019) and Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games, 2017). The second considers the games through the lens of monstrosity, defined broadly as a form of negative mythologisation of an entity. Like with heroes, I outline a number of monster-types based on where their monstrosity is said to come from. These are the monster from within, the monster from without, the artificial monster and the monster of nature. The game examples are Doom (id Software, 1993a), the Pokémon series (Game Freak, 1996–2022), Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory, 2017), Ghost of Tsushima (Sucker Punch Productions, 2020a) and The Witcher series (CD Projekt Red, 2007–2016). Finally, I synthesise these two lenses in a chapter reflecting on the hero- and monster-types, all ten analyses and the mytholudic approach in general. I argue that a mytholudic approach helps us to understand how games make meaning because it focuses on the naturalised and hidden premises that go into the construction of games as organising structures. By analysing the underpinnings of those organising structures, we can outline the model for understanding the world that is virtually instantiated and how they are influenced by, influence and relate to models for understanding the world—mythologies—in the real world.
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Literary works have structures that articulate the possible worlds represented in them using ethical, aesthetic, and religious keys -mimeses of these structures in the real effective world- so that the greater or lesser presence of these keys determines whether the work is coherent, plausible, and meaningful for the reader. Literary theories have omitted the study of this section of reality present in the structure of the works and, therefore, in this article we intend to systematise and describe, using the semantic theory of possible worlds, the functioning of these structures in the processes of representation, creation, and reception of a work of fiction. We also provide a proposal for a model of analysis that ratifies the presence of these articulating structures of the fictional world and regulators of the interactions of the possible characters among themselves, with the world they inhabit and with transcendence. With this research we want to confirm the need to include ethical, aesthetic and religious structures within the theory of literature and to offer a rich and fruitful model of analysis.
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Progress toward a revolutionary metaverse is currently underway, but it is being led by large tech companies, like Meta, who aim to build on their current platforms and extend their already exploitative internet products. These efforts dominate the conversation around what the metaverse can be and whether it can be conceived as a collection of viable as spaces designed for collaboration, agency, and empathy. Metaverse projects led by individual artists are small in scope but powerful as alternatives to mainstream efforts in their ability to effect change, making them important case studies for what is possible for the making of the metaverse. This article offers a working definition for the imagined metaverse and the current proto metaverse and shifts the focus away from mainstream tech products and toward individual artistic experiments to highlight the lesser-known experiments that are shaping the metaverse in meaningful ways. It discusses the metaverse as a form of escape and counters the idea that it is thus limited to a social space that defaults to phatic communication about important issues. By drawing on theories of play and critically examining metaverse-based artworks that have a social mission, this article aims to show that, precisely because they are like computer games, metaverse projects are separate from but integrated with reality and allow imagination and experimentation to come together. Worlds created in the metaverse can be inspiring and resourceful sites for political activist ideas and knowledge-based understandings of the real world. Finally, it identifies three key attributes of the proto metaverse that allow for purposeful interaction and the possibility of knowledge acquisition. Four projects based in the proto metaverse are closely analyzed and evaluated against these observations to demonstrate examples of artistic practice grounded in the use of a kind of virtual flânerie – a reimagining of the cyberflâneur whose self-guided traversal through unknown digital territories is encouraged by curiosity and purpose – to experience, learn about, and feel inspired by the work’s overarching social activist message.
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Dubourg and Baumard's paper takes a different, and fruitful, approach to the study of imaginary worlds than what is usually found in Media Studies, but omits certain circumstances and influences that shaped their history; this article argues that psychological or behavioral factors are not enough to explain the growth of imaginary worlds, even as they may be important influences.
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This chapter considers Sherlock Holmes and how his reception purposefully blurs the lines between the real and the imagined in the Great Game. I will consider how Arthur Conan Doyle’s narration and the short stories’ material publication in periodicals contribute to the sense that Holmes could or did actually exist and will treat the Baker Street Irregulars (established in 1934) as one of the earliest explicitly named, self-conscious fandoms. The Baker Street Irregulars both perpetuated an elitism that rejected the label of fan while also championing pleasure and exploration as a fundamental motive for engaging with literature. Focusing on Sherlockian accounts that attempt to reconcile Holmes’s timelines between “The Final Problem” (1893), Hound of the Baskervilles (1901–1902), and “The Adventure of the Empty House” (1903), I will argue that the gamesmanship of the Great Game reveals the realist assumptions undergirding fan practices down to today, and how these realist assumptions are less beholden to strict continuity and coherence than one may initially assume. Desires for characters and storyworlds are actually animated by the indeterminacy and incompleteness of those entities, even as the works composing the storyworld canon imply its vastness and potential completeness. The treatment of Holmes as “real” thus reveals how realism enchants.
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Storytelling has been one of the defining attributes of the theme park industry. This chapter describes the strategic storytelling present in theme parks, one of the most popular visitor attraction sectors globally. It posits four types of story-connected layers present in theme parks: story-based experiences, story-adjacent experiences, story-driven experiences, and story-interactive experiences. Each of these layers provides narrative connections with visitors and enhances positive outcomes such as visitation, revenue, revisit intention, and brand loyalty. The chapter notes the value of utilizing strategic storytelling to stage impactful experiences and suggests narrative strategies that can be applied in multiple tourism contexts.
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The story of how Tolkien's creations have made their way into material and virtual games is the story of regulating and calculating fantasy. Enchantment is a key term in “On Fairy‐stories.” In it, Tolkien describes the enchantment of fairies that “produces a Secondary World into which both the designer and spectator can enter, to the satisfaction of their senses while they are inside”. Wargaming served as an important backdrop to the development of the mechanics of fantasy gaming. The latest step in the evolution of Tolkien's ideas and worlds into games took place when the Internet spread wide enough that a whole generation of players sought to reinstate this camaraderie that the RPG experience lost in migrating to the computer.
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This chapter makes a case for carefully defining imaginary worlds as an aid for developing a comparative framework for social science research. It argues that imaginary worlds can be extremely useful venues for considering social theories while at the same time serving as valuable teaching tools in and outside of the classroom. Specific examples are given, such as a consideration of Carlos Collodi’s Pinocchio in the light of Marxist theory, the World of Warcraft with theories of racialization, or the notion that popular imaginary worlds can serve as forms of social criticism. Concepts such as ‘deep worlds’ versus ‘shallow worlds’ are offered as a step toward the creation of a useful framework for differentiating imaginary worlds from either worlds of imagination or the standard world.
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[Tradução do artigo original em inglês] Os nomes desempenham um papel significativo no desenvolvimento dos personagens e culturas dos mundos imaginados por autores de ficção científica e fantasia. Em vez de criar novas linguagens, como J.R.R Tolkien faz em O Senhor dos Anéis, Frank Herbert realiza sua construção de mundo em Duna escolhendo nomes existentes que evocam um cenário medieval e feudal reconhecível e retratam um planeta desértico habitado por um povo tribal quase árabe e islâmico. Embora os nomes sirvam para justapor os Fremen como um Outro exótico com a família ocidental Atreides, eles também apontam em direção a uma possível releitura dessa relação polarizada.
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PT/[EN]: O artigo busca comparar estratégias de construção narrativa em textos multimodais, impressos e digitais, para a representação do mundo ficcional de Chapeuzinho Vermelho. Para isso são analisados um livro ilustrado com realidade aumentada, “Little Red Riding Hood: a come-to-life book” (Nat Lambert e Rosie Butcher, Little Hippo, 2018); um story app, “Little Red Riding Hood” (Nosy Crow, 2013); e um aplicativo de realidade virtual, “Red Riding Hunt” (Johannes Unterguggenberger, Michael Probst e Armin Primig, 2015). A fim de alcançar tal objetivo, delimita-se a análise a um evento específico do enredo – a travessia da floresta – e aplicam-se referências sobre diferentes mídias, multimodalidade e tecnologias digitais. São apresentadas, como metáforas ilustrativas, interpretações gráficas das estratégias narrativas de parte da ecologia dos meios que inscrevem o conto, enfatizando o impacto da diferenciação entre eles na construção daquele mundo ficcional. / [The article seeks to compare narrative construction strategies in multimodal texts, printed and digital, for the representation of the fictional world of Little Red Riding Hood. For this, we analyze a picturebook with augmented reality, “Little Red Riding Hood: a come-to-life book” (Nat Lambert e Rosie Butcher, Little Hippo, 2018); a story app, “Little Red Riding Hood” (Nosy Crow, 2013); and a virtual reality app, “Red Riding Hunt” (Johannes Unterguggenberger, Michael Probst e Armin Primig, 2015). To achieve our objective, the analysis is limited to one specific event in the plot – the crossing through the forest – and references on different media, multimodality and digital technologies are applied. As illustrative metaphors, graphic interpretations of the narrative strategies of part of the ecology of the media that inscribe the tale are presented, emphasizing the impact of the differentiation between media in the construction of that fictional world.]
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Der Beitrag widmet sich der mannigfaltigen Art und Weise, wie Karten in Filmen Einsatz finden und zur räumlichen Bedeutungsproduktion genutzt werden. Aufbauend auf dem Schlagwort der Cinematic Cartography werden Karten als Medium der Wirklichkeitskonstruktion und Neuordnung von Raum und Zeit sowie in ihrem intermedialen Wechselspiel mit der Filmästhetik in den Blick genommen. Im Fokus stehen sechs Aspekte: Neben (1) einem historischen Aufriss über die Genese kartographischer Praktiken im Film widmet sich der Aufsatz (2) der Narratologie filmischer Karten sowie der Frage, welche (3) handlungssteuernden Funktionen Karten im Film zukommen. Anschließend wird (4) die Materialität von Karten im Film thematisiert und (5) eine generische Typologie filmischer Karten vorgenommen. Das Kapitel schließt mit einem Ausblick auf (6) die geopolitische Bedeutungen von Filmkarten.
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This article examines the short story “Senator Bilbo” by fantasy writer Andy Duncan, in which the author provides a futuristic view of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, specifically the hobbits’ world of the Shire, in a setting which has become xenophobic and racist, excluding all those who are “other” than hobbits. The chief protagonist of the story, Senator Bilbo, is modelled on the American senator Theodore Bilbo, a mid-twentieth-century southern senator known for his segregationist views and writings on “miscegenation”. In the article I investigate how Duncan's character Senator Bilbo mirrors the real Senator Bilbo as he fails to adjust to the Shire's new attitudes to a multicultural Middle-earth— a view Tolkien supported—and how Tolkien's views on “race” were in fact non-racist and, in contrast to many ideologies of his time, advanced in terms of the acceptance of different cultures and ethnicities. In doing so I examine some of Tolkien's views on South Africa and how these ideas influenced his writing; I also explore the ways in which both segregation and apartheid were anathema to his worldview in the 1940s and 1950s, at the time of the writing of The Lord of the Rings. I argue that Duncan's story is meaningful in showing how Bilbo Baggins's descendant can successfully realise that the hobbits of the Shire cannot, for all time, live in an isolated Shire but must, eventually, engage with other peoples.
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Based on an interdisciplinary investigation of future visions, scenarios, and case-studies of low carbon innovation taking place across economic domains, Decarbonising Economies analyses the ways in which questions of agency, power, geography and materiality shape the conditions of possibility for a low carbon future. It explores how and why the challenge of changing our economies are variously ascribed to a lack of finance, a lack of technology, a lack of policy and a lack of public engagement, and shows how the realities constraining change are more fundamentally tied to the inertia of our existing high carbon society and limited visions for what a future low carbon world might become. Through showcasing the first seeds of innovation seeking to enable transformative change, Decarbonising Economies will also chart a course for future research and policy action towards our climate goals. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
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As a setting for juvenile literature, the Arctic has traditionally been a space for adventure, the exotic and the fantastic. More recent works have used the Arctic setting to explore a dystopian future, often related to climate change. The aim of the present volume is to examine themes in Arctic juvenile fiction from the early nineteenth century until today. The deceptive image of the Arctic as geographically uniform seems to promise a cultural coherence, but the collection illustrates the diversity of Arctic literature by critically discussing and comparing works written by visitors and settlers as well as by indigenous peoples. The chapters combine macro-and micro-perspectives to interrogate and illuminate the role of Arctic literature for young readers in creating, maintaining and increasingly challenging Arctic myths and motifs.
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Artykuł wprowadza polskiego czytelnika w problematykę światocentryczności i zwrotu światocentrycznego we współczesnej teorii narracji. Nakreśliwszy kulturowe, ekonomiczne i transmedialne aspekty rzeczonego zwrotu, autor porusza problem dyskryminacji fantasy, science fiction oraz nurtów pokrewnych w akademickim piśmiennictwie teoretycznoliterac­kim XX i XXI wieku w Polsce. Celem tego jest przekierowanie uwagi teorii literatury na igno­rowane dotąd aspekty twórczości artystycznej, takie jak choćby światotwórstwo (w miejsce fabułotwórstwa), imersja (w miejsce uważnego czytania) i performatywna światogra (w miejsce traktowania świata jako tła wydarzeń fabularnych). Wszystkie te zjawiska postu­luje się włączyć w obręb postklasycznych studiów narratologicznych wykorzystywanych do analizy fantasy, science fiction oraz innych form fantastyki na przestrzeni różnych mediów.
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La historiografía de la fantasía épica sufre de la vaguedad de la teoría sobre esta modalidad ficcional, ya que no se la suele distinguir de otros géneros de ficción con elementos sobrenaturales. Siguiendo las teorías de Waggoner y Trębicki, este ensayo constituye un intento de definir y caracterizar taxonómicamente la fantasía épica, distinguiéndola mediante rasgos estructurales y retóricos de otros tipos afines de fantasía en la ficción, para poder saber específicamente de que se está hablando al acometer una historia comparada de la fantasía épica. Abstract: The historiography of high fantasy suffers from the theoretical vagueness about this kind of fiction, since it is not usually distinguished from other kinds of fiction with supernatural elements. Following the theories of Tolkien, Waggoner and Trębicki, this essay constitutes an attempt to define and describe high fantasy, distinguishing it through structural and rhetorical features from other related fantasy fiction genres in order to establish what we are specifically talking about when we undertake a comparative history of high fantasy.
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Microacting is a performance technique originated by the author in 2009 in collaboration with the jazz vibraphonist/actor Krystof Krasa, with subsequent contribution from neuroscientist Inna Tsirlin. It plays with the irregularities in human perception to build collectively imagined spaces, usually in a domestic setting. This text – part scholarly article, part research-as-practice reflection – contextualizes the latest series of experiments in perception and microacting brought about by the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic. We build imaginary worlds by inducing processes of cognitive deterritorialization. In the absence of normally available techniques due to the pandemic, we have been experimenting with how far our audience can carry the imaginative process on their own. During a series of virtual workshops conducted during the pandemic, the participants were guided via Zoom by an unseen voice through a perceptional de/reconstruction of their homes. The resulting observations along with the imaginary maps created by the participants are presented in the article.
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