CFP:Le jeu et récit. Revisiting narrativity in video games
SPECIAL ISSUE: Le jeu et récit. Revisiting narrativity in video games

Guest editors:
Krzysztof Maj
Damian Gałuszka

Despite recurring caveats regarding the so-called ludology vs narratology debate—which,
according to many game studies experts, never took place or was at the very least gravely
misunderstood—the problem of narrative in video games still calls for further consideration.
Having realised that even the text-centered theory of narrative has left many dilemmas
without conclusive answers (regarding, among others, referentiality, fictionality, reliability,
modality and so on), it would be far too precipitate to determine that game studies—being a
young and developing discipline—has already eluded them in accordance with a medium
more challenging (in terms of interactivity, tellability, and explorability) than its literary

Ever since the shift in contemporary narrative studies—which was attributed to the growing
awareness of so-called media-consciousness (Thon & Ryan 2014)—narratology has ceased to
address text-centered or literary-centered phenomena and, instead, opened towards generally
understood interactive media (Page & Thomas 2011), comic books (Kukkonen 2013), anime
& visual novels (Cavallaro 2014), and video games (Thon 2016). However, due to the
continuous development and widespread influence of more gameplay-focused game studies,
most of the key terms in postclassical narrative studies (such as worldness, transmediality,
transfictionality, multimodality, topofocal storytelling, natural/unnatural narrative, and
storyworld among many others) lack any substantial contribution and, thereby, scarcely prove
their usability. Consequently, many ludologists (or game scholars) frequently come up with
new terms to describe already known phenomena—such as unnatural narrative or parabasis
in a video game which is commonly attributed within game studies to the newly-coined
ludonarrative dissonance.

The editors of the upcoming issue of AGH Contributions to Humanities seek to address this
very problem and bridge the gap between contemporary narratology and rapidly developing
game studies. We encourage submissions of both theoretical essays on general problems and
case studies, the latter however stemming from narratological and/or ludological reflection
upon less frequently used terms and concepts in literary or narrative theory that could enrich
video game studies. We would like to address in particular such phenomena as:

1. The dialectics of immersion and emersion. How does being entranced in a video
game differ from the equivalent sense of absorption in non-interactive media?

2. Unnatural narratives in video games. How the concept of naturality and/or
unnaturality influence the way we perceive video game storytelling? Is there any game
where the introduction of unnaturality or unnatural narrative affects the players insofar
as to alter their gaming experience?

3. Fictionality of/in video games. Is fiction a key component of video game world-
building? How can we explain the prevalence of fantasy-driven storytelling in the

4. Transmedial and transfictional game studies. Considering the immense success of
world franchises and world-centred storytelling (successful insofar as to often justify
microtransactions or sugar-coating the introduction of “surprise mechanics”), how can
game studies benefit from transmedial or transfictional narratology?

5. Storyworlds and gameworlds. What would be the key differences between these two
phenomena? Do they overlap or differ from one another? Is endgame the final frontier
of gameworld? And what about transmedial storyworlds and universes?

6. Tellability and re-playability. Does designing a replayable game amount to a recipe
for a tellable story? Or conversely, does artisanal, finely-narrated storytelling make
game replayable? And how we can analyse and design emergent, branching storylines
that nonetheless sustain the narrative tension?

7. Referentiality. How do video games comment on the reality that surrounds us? How
can we measure the referential potential of both fictional and non-fictional video
games? Why do we tend to term non-fictional games “serious”, implying that fictional
ones are non-serious only because they refer to counterfactuals?

These questions are meant to be but stimulation for an informed inquiry into the possible
benefits of revisiting key narratological discussions of the late 20 th and early 21 st
centuries—and by no means limit the scope of the issue’s topic.

The editors will be waiting for submissions until the 15.10. 2020. Editorial correspondence
should be addressed to guest editors (; The standard manuscript length is up to 7,000 words, including bibliography. The language of the manuscripts is British English. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Detailed guidelines can be found at:,1924.html