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Narrativization Processes of Video Game Tutorials: From EarthBound to Undertale
Barnabé, Fanny
2019 • DiGRA 2019: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix


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Keywords :
EarthBound; Undertale; RPG; JRPG; Tutorial; Narratology; Metalepsis; Unnatural narratives; Game studies; Avatar; Rhetoric
Abstract :
[en] From the JRPG EarthBound to the parodic RPG Undertale, produced by the American developer Toby Fox, there is an obvious influence and continuity (in terms of narrative, aesthetics and gameplay).This trajectory therefore constitutes a fruitful prism to study the relations, influences and reappropriations connecting Japanese and Western RPGs, as they are caught in the ludo mix system and in the transmedia circulation of stories and characters (see Steinberg 2012; Jenkins 2008; Blom, 2018; among others). This paper will thus develop a comparative analysis of these two games through a focus on their tutorials, in order to determine how they articulate singularly the representation of rules and that of fiction. Video game tutorials are indeed ambiguous ludo-narrative devices: in these passages, the game addresses directly the player through hybrid expressions, mixing references to fiction and to the player’s empirical gesture (such as “presses B to run”; see Therrien and Julien 2015, Ryan 2004 and Ensslin 2015). Posing at the same time the bases for the rules and for the fictional universe, tutorials represent an ideal gateway to study the sets of constraints existing between rules, fiction and transmedia references (in the case of the semi-shared universe of EarthBound/Undertale).
Research center :
Liège Game Lab
LEMME - Laboratoire d'Étude sur les Médias et la Médiation - ULiège
Disciplines :
Arts & humanities: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Author, co-author :
Barnabé, Fanny  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de langues et littératures romanes > Litt. française (19è et 20è) - Sociologie de la littérature
Language :
Title :
Narrativization Processes of Video Game Tutorials: From EarthBound to Undertale
Publication date :
09 August 2019
Event name :
DiGRA 2019: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix
Event organizer :
Akinori Nakamura, Hanna Wirman, Masakazu Furuichi, Torill Mortensen
Event place :
Kyoto, Japan
Event date :
August 6-10, 2019
Audience :
Funders :
F.R.S.-FNRS - Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique


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