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Narrative Misappropriations of Pokémon: How Fanarts and Fanfictions Playfully Feed and Reconfigure a Transmedia Universe
Barnabé, Fanny 
2017 • Replaying Japan 2017
 

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Keywords :
Video Games; Misappropriation; Narratology; Pokémon; Fanfictions; Fanarts; Metalepsis; Transmedia; Participatory Culture
Abstract :
[en] As defined by Jenkins (2006), transmedia storytelling is intimately linked with creative practices of reception which take part in what we now call the “participatory culture” (Raessens, 2005; Jenkins, 1992 and 2009). The audience plays, indeed, a key role in the construction of transmedia universes, given that “to fully experience any fictional world, consumers must assume the role of hunters and gatherers, chasing down bits of the story across media channels, comparing notes with each other via online discussion groups, and collaborating to ensure that everyone who invests time and effort will come away with a richer entertainment experience” (Jenkins, 2006: 21). Consequently, studying a media – in this case, the video game – through the lens of transmedia storytelling urges one to take into consideration how the public can participate, feed, or transform fictions by consuming them. Furthermore, in the field of game studies, it is all the more relevant to deal with the implication of players in the creative process since video games are historically and structurally related to the practice of misappropriation or detournement. As Genvo notes: “the creation of the first video game [Spacewar, 1962] already resulted from a playful act, which was expressed by the misuse of the conventional function of an MIT’s super calculator” (Genvo, 2008: 2). This original affinity now appears in a number of creative practices that prolong the game outside its primary space and enable it to seep into other medias: as fanfictions, modding or machinimas show, the video game is regularly apprehended by players not as a closed work to consume, but “more as [a] suit[e] of resources to be played with” (Newman, 2012: 123). This paper therefore seeks to study the impact of players’ misappropriations on the development of video games' fictional worlds. In this perspective, I will focus on a deeply transmedia license, the Pokémon saga, and on two creative practices that reconfigure games’ universes: fanarts and fanfictions. While amateur drawings and comics inspired by Pokémon GO have created narrative extensions from scratch about the barely characterized Team Leaders (Blanche, Candela and Spark), fan-authors have written thousands of texts that play with elements of the Pokémon universe in order to produce original stories. Yet, these textual and pictorial rewritings do not merely reuse narrative elements of Pokémon games; they also feature strictly playful components such as gameplay, glitches or actions like saving and reloading, which then become new types of narrative motifs. Fanfictions and fanarts thus construct – like the games they extend – hybrid fictions, mixing storytelling and gaming logic: in Amato’s words, “ludiegesis” (Amato, 2005 : 301). Using theoretical tools from narratology and from game studies, I will show that, by reincorporating playful aspects in their narrative structures, these derivative works hold a reflexive discourse on the original game that cannot be reduced to a binary opposition between “adhesion” and “subversion”, but which builds a whole new stratum of fiction.
Research center :
LEMME - Laboratoire d'Étude sur les Médias et la Médiation - ULiège
Laboratoire \"Jeux et Mondes Virtuels\" (LabJMV)
Liège Game Lab
Disciplines :
Arts & humanities: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Author, co-author :
Barnabé, Fanny  ;  Université de Liège > Département de langues et littératures romanes > Litt. française (19è et 20è) - Sociologie de la littérature
Language :
English
Title :
Narrative Misappropriations of Pokémon: How Fanarts and Fanfictions Playfully Feed and Reconfigure a Transmedia Universe
Publication date :
21 August 2017
Event name :
Replaying Japan 2017
Event organizer :
Strong National Museum of Play; Rochester Institute of Technology; Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies
Event place :
Rochester, United States
Event date :
21-23 August 2017
Audience :
International
Funders :
F.R.S.-FNRS - Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique

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