“Perceiving Doors: Fiction vs Simulation in Games” by Aarseth

(All quotations are from Aarseth’s paper.)
Aarseth discusses about what is real, fiction, and virtual (in games). He adopts Philip K. Dick’s definition of real: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing it, doesn’t go away” (A). Aarseth goes on to discuss fictionality; he defines fiction as “invented phenomena” (B) based on definition from Encarta. Aarseth goes on further and argues that things that are manipulable, like doors that can be opened, are virtual but objects not manipulable like texture of doors (that cannot be used) are fictional. Thus there are both fictional and non-fictional things in games and “the non-fictional doors are virtual, a mode of existence that is neither fictional nor real.”

Albeit, virtual objects and textures of objects are both real based on definition A, aren’t they? They can also be fictional or not based on definition B. Thus the categories offered seems not to be working like described in the paper–at least if one uses definitions offered.

Relation between real, fictional, documentary, non-fiction and documentary is not simple as seen in works of for example Currie in Image and Mind (1995, pp. 9–16) and Walton in Mimesis as Make-Believe (1990, pp. 70–105).

Aarseth, Espen (2005). The Perception of Doors: Fiction vs Simulation in Games. In Proceedings of the 6th DAC Conference. Copenhagen (December 1st–3rd), 59–62.

Published by lankoski

Petri Lankoski, D.Arts, is a Associate Professor in Game Studies at the school of Communication, Media and IT at the Södertörn University, Sweden. His research focuses on game design, game characters, role-playing, and playing experience. Petri has been concentrating on single-player video games but researched also (multi-player) pnp and live-action role-playing games. This blog focuses on his research on games and related things.

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