Montfort on Narratology vs. Ludology

Colorado-based independent scholar Marie-Laure Ryan, author of Narrative as Virtual Reality and editor, most recently, of Narrative across Media: The Languages of Storytelling, who has offered comments here at GTxA, spoke about the ludology vs. narratology debate, admitting that she was preaching to the converted, not to the heathens…

She took on the anti-narrativst arguments advanced by Aarseth, Eskelinen, Frasca, and Juul and offered convincing answers to them. All right, I admit: I was already convinced. She suggested that a cognitive approach to narrative, which saw story as a world that had characters and objects undertaking meaningful actions, actions that had consequences in a system with rules and laws, was particularly amenable for use in understanding some computer games.

My basic reaction was, Yes! —Nick MontfortMontfort on Narratology vs. Ludology (Grand Text Auto)

Nick Montfort also makes a few good-natured jabs at his ludologist friends in this post, a summary of part of a narrative conference sponsored by the University of Vermont and Middelbury College. Once again, at a conference geared towards literature, it’s not surprising to see the narratological approach to computer games dominant. I like Nick’s observation that if we focus too much on finding a theory that accounts for Tetris, we risk specializing in Tetris Studies.

Update: “May all future discussions be both ludolicious and narratasty.” –Andrew Stern