Abstract: Mike Skolnik’s Authorship, Environment and Mediation in Role-Playing Games takes up a classificatory and evaluative task regarding analog and digital role-playing environments. Utilising Murray’s procedural authorship and Mackay’s account of mediation in games, Skolnik explores the methods which role-players construct and disseminate meaning and narrative potentials across various contexts.
In Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, Janet Murray’s seminal work on interactive narrative and the potential that digital technology offers for delivering it, Murray groups digital entertainment media (video games in particular) and hypertext/hypermedia as media through which meaningful multi-form narratives can be delivered. Curiously, she also places analog role-playing games (ARPGs) in the same category. In subsuming analog role-playing games into this category, Murray subordinates these games to their digital form and makes a pair of problematic assertions about them that this paper will complicate. Murray asserts that digital settings provide ‘experiential drama’ and navigable spaces that analog settings cannot replicate. This paper compares analog role-playing games to digital ones (DRPGs), looking at two main questions: is there enough similarity in the way meaning is created through authorship and interaction, and delivered through narrative, and mediation, for Murray’s grouping to hold? Across media forms, are they the same sorts of games (independent of their genre), in terms of narrative potential, except that one is on a computer and the other is not?
Hamlet on the Holodeck is a seminal text in New Media Studies for its examination of the narrative potential of new digital media forms. With its extensive sections on, and examples drawn from, video games, it is also a fundamental text in the field of Game Studies, particularly in its use and advocacy of the narratological (study of narrative) approach to games. Within the Game Studies field is an ongoing debate between the narratological and ludological (study of game rules, systems, and play) methodologies. This paper uses both methodologies and complicates the debate in respect to role-playing games by illustrating the inextricably interconnected nature of narrative and play in the genre. Joris Dormans, in “On the Role of the Die: A brief ludologic study of pen-and-paper roleplaying games and their rules”, reaches the same conclusion about the interconnection of the narrative and the ludic in role-playing games, from a very different point of departure and approach. (Dormans 2006) In addressing its main areas of inquiry (authorship and mediation), this work also draws on the interdisciplinary fields of hermeneutics and performance studies to offer alternatives to Murray’s conception where problems arise.
A Brief Description of Role-Playing Games
Before getting onto that question, it may be worth offering a brief description of what role-playing games are and how that phrase is being used. This paper is talking about role-playing games as popular culture entertainment in the vein of Dungeons and Dragons (TSR: 1974), and leaving out other possible role-playing game scenarios such as role-playing exercises in psychotherapy, theatrical workshopping and actor training exercises. In that category, analog role-playing games (ARPGs) are exercises in collaborative storytelling and performance. Participants assume the role of one or multiple characters in an interactive story which is enacted by one or more Game Masters (abbreviated as GM, and a generic term – as different games have different titles for the people in this role), whose function is to enact the story at each play session, as well as adjudicating any conflicts involving the rules of the game. Participants play a dual role, acting both as players (or Game Masters) in the game and the audience in the performance. Digital role-playing games (DRPGs) range on a continuum from chat-room versions of analog games to Massively Multiplayer On-Line Role-playing Games (MMORPGs) that can accommodate hundred of thousands of players in its persistent game-world. In all digital role-playing games, the player still takes on the role of a character-avatar and navigates that character through the game world, interacting with it as he goes. The degree of performance involved in a DRPG beyond this digital embodiment varies wildly from game to game and player to player.
Authorship in the Role-Playing Game
Murray makes a strong assertion about whether the interactor is an author of the story and setting in this sort of interactive narrative milieu (and we are taking as granted, for the moment, that analog role-playing games are similar enough to digital interactive stories, which Murray also asserts):
One of the key questions that the practice of narrative agency evokes is, To what degree are we the authors of the work we are experiencing? Some have argued (with either elation or horror) that an interactor in a digital story – not just the improvising MUDder, but even the navigating reader of a postmodern hypertext – is the author of the story. This is a misleading assertion. […] There is a distinction between playing a creative role within an authored environment and having authorship of the environment itself.[… A]ll of the interactor’s possible performances will have been called into being by the originating author. (Murray 1997, 152)
In making this argument, Murray enters into a debate about the role of authorial intentionality that traces back to long before digital media came into existence. To some degree, Murray’s claim is a modernized restatement of F.D.E. Schleiermacher’s system of Romantic Hermeneutics, which establishes the objective of literary interpretation as understanding a text by understanding its author’s psychological states at the time of writing as well as the seminal authorial Will (keimentschluss) that led to the author’s writing the text. (Schleiermacher 72-97)
Let us examine this in relation to role-playing games with an example. The analog role-playing game is a collaborative work between all the participants, players and GMs alike. At its most collaborative potential, the GM has an idea of the story and how events might unfold, but adapts it to the in-character actions of the player-characters. For example, a player decides to have his character swing into a melee on a heretofore unmentioned chandelier. The GM, seeing no reason or need to oppose this, adjudicates the action as necessary, bringing in the necessary rules, maybe asking for some dice to be rolled and checking some tables to determine the success or failure, and degree thereof of that action. In terms of authorship, though, the result is less important than the chandelier.
Certainly interactors can create aspects of digital stories in all these formats, with the greatest degree of creative authorship being over those environments that reflect the least amount of prescripting. But interactors can only act within the possibilities that have been established by the writing and programming. […] The interactor is not the author of the digital narrative, although the interactor can experience one of the most exciting aspects of artistic creation – the thrill of exerting power over enticing and plastic materials. This is not authorship but agency. (152-3)
The first part of this statement seems somewhat tenuous with regard to ARPGs, which, to be sure, are bounded by conventions established in printed game materials or by the GM as ‘house rules’ for a given version of the game. The conventions of analog role-playing games seem more flexible than that, given that many printed game materials include some formulation of the so-called Golden Rule (this one from Mage: The Ascension, Revised Edition [White Wolf, 2000]):
The most important rule of all, and the only one truly worth following, is that there are no inviolable rules. This is your game. Your own gaming group should make of it what it will. […] The rules in this book should be considered nothing more than useful guidelines. They’re not mandatory strictures on the only correct way to play Mage[.] (Brucato et al. 2002, 219)
Digital games, at least the ones that involve program
med rules systems, do not have this luxury, as the conventions of the game are rigidly coded into it so that the computer can process them, which makes for one difference in the two sorts of games, and the experiences of interaction and authorship they can deliver. In the digital game, the player can not swing into combat on a chandelier that is not represented to him, or coded into the game. The player can not author the chandelier into existence for his own experience, much less persistently for other players to use. The chandelier may eventually come to exist if, say, the game’s programming team had a chat with the player and decided to put one in that spot, but in that scenario, the programming team is the author, rather than the player, because they put the code in, and the chandelier there.
In the ARPG, unlike the digital, the player can author a chandelier into existence in the game setting their characters inhabit – the GM’s particular version of the game – because, as Mackay notes; "[t]he role-playing game script is not solely in the gamemaster’s hands. The gamemaster does not determine what the characters will do and where the characters will go in the fictional world". (Mackay 2001, 52) In addition to granting the players a degree of agency, as Murray terms it, it also sets up a collaborative narrative model where the players can exert ‘scriptwriting control’ (authorship). With the GM expected to adapt to major surprises, such as the player-characters ignoring one plotline in favour of another, adapting to smaller narrative-creation challenges like the existence or non-existence of a chandelier is also part of the game experience. The game experience allows for the participants to create story segments for themselves and each other, making the game a collaborative activity of authorship, meaning-making and discovery for the participants to engage in as opposed to simply a set of interactions in a rule system.
Murray describes authorship in electronic systems as ‘procedural’, which involves writing the rules through which interactions can and might occur. This model breaks down when applied to the ARPG. GMs in an ARPG are not generally thought of as writing rule systems. By and large, the game’s publishers already have done this. GMs may make modifications to the system to suit their group’s style of play (for example, adapting a set of house rules, as justified by the Golden Rule). Also, GMs are not locked into one established game setting. GMs create individualized and custom-tailored stories to be played out in a game’s setting and rule system that they adapt to work with the interactions of participating players, rather than individual game sessions being instances of the published rule sets and settings reiterating themselves.
Fan-fiction might provide a useful analogy for authorship in the ARPG. Fan-fiction is a genre of writing in which the fans of a narrative franchise (Star Trek, or Harry Potter, for example) write stories using the characters and/or settings provided by the franchise’s texts and their original authors. This can take many forms, but typically involves speculative fiction (what would follow from X happening at time Y?) of filling in the blanks in the original narrative (what happened between such-and-such episodes of Star Trek?). However derivative a piece of fan-fiction might be (this varies) and regardless of whether it becomes accepted as a part of that franchise’s official canon and continuity, the fan-fiction authors are nonetheless creating and authoring a new text. It is this kind of relationship that individual GMs have to the published game materials, and this kind of authorship within a game’s setting that I am proposing that role-playing interactors have the ability to exert.
The Structure of the Digital Environment and the Role-Playing Game
To begin to evaluate Murray’s grouping of ARPGs along with digital media as ways by which to deliver a meaningful interactive narrative outside of the idea of authorship, we can look at the four ‘essential properties’ of digital environments that Murray offers and see how they apply to digital role-playing games. Subsequently, we can examine if they apply in turn to analog role-playing games (and if so, how they do so). These properties are:
1) that they are procedural (a digital environment, or feature thereof is “brought to life by the procedural power of the computer, by its defining ability to execute a series of rules”), (Murray 71)
2) participatory (“[p]rocedural environments are appealing to us not just because they exhibit rule-generated behaviour but because we can induce the behaviour. They are responsive to our input”), (74)
3) spatial (“characterized by their power to represent navigable space”), (79)
4) and encyclopaedic (able to represent vast quantities of information to lend a narrative breadth and depth). (84-9)
In DRPGs, the computer executes rules in many ways; the control schemes by which a player guides his character-avatar are one set of rules that the computer executes, as well as such typical role-playing game rules as the amount of damage a sword can do or the range of a spell (in the sword and sorcery setting), the behaviour of non-player characters and enemies. In some games, the rules extend to the way the computer builds game areas, or even the game world (random dungeon generators are not entirely random, as they are still governed by some rules to ensure the navigability and coherence of the space of the dungeon they generate). In analog games, the procedural function remains, though it falls not to the computer, but the game master, to design the setting and to modify and adjudicate the rules of the game, which, in commercial games, are published by the game’s developers. One example common to both types of games might be that in each, the player-characters might slay a small horde of orcs, giving them a reputation as orc-slayers and engendering fear and hatred in orcs they encounter, and gratitude and adulation in those who hate orcs. Whereas the computer rigidly and mathematically applies some rule that has been programmed in, the analog role-playing game’s game master has some more flexibility in how he handles the situation. The published materials might tell the game master to roll a die and cross-reference the result to a table, but the game master can just as easily declare what these non-player characters’ dispositions are. On digital role-playing games, Murray adds that “the computer can be a compelling medium for storytelling if we can write rules for it that are recognizable as an interpretation of the world”. (73) With analog role-playing games, the same is true, if not as explicit. The published materials aim for such rules, and the game masters, even when they eschew the printed rules, can (and in this analysis, should) operate according to unwritten rules governing the game’s internal consistency and in such a way that the players do not feel as if the game master’s interpretation of the world or the game-world are off, jeopardizing the suspension of disbelief and engrossment or immersion in the game.
In terms of the participatory nature of DRPGs, all of these changes and computer-handled adjudications are triggered by the actions of the player, or by the effects of previous adjudications of the rules (for example, the player-character spots an orc and charges at it, swords akimbo, because it’s an orc and that’s what the player-character decides to do, or, the orc spots the player character, and attacks from behind because that player has killed so many of its brethren and the computer has, in its application of the rules, concluded that the orc’s hatred of the player-character overpowers his fear at that moment). The same is generally true of the action in analog role-playing games.
The encyclopaedic nature of these games, both analog and digital, is that they are able to represent huge amounts of information – all the graphics, setting, and visual representations of the rules programmed into digital games, and everything that a game master can make up and represent to the players in analog ones. In these respects, analog role-playing games do provide the same narrative potential as digital ones, if in different ways, which justifies Murray’s inclusion of analog role-playing games in with viable multiform narrative forms. I have saved the spatial property of digital environments for last, because Murray and I disagree on whether analog games provide navigable space.
Mediation, Space and Immediacy in the Role-playing Game
Murray offers an interesting, if problematic, starting point from which to look at mediation and meaning in terms of space in analog and digital role-playing games when, after grouping analog role-playing games in with digital narrative forms as being able to deliver a meaningful multiform narrative, she states that in Zork (Infocom, 1980) in particular and in digital role-playing games in general,
[t]he dungeon itself has an objective reality that is much more concrete than, for instance, the jail on the Monopoly board or a dungeon in a tabletop game of Dungeons and Dragons – or even a dungeon in a live-action role-playing game – because the words on the screen are as transparent as a book. That is, the player is not looking at a game board and game pieces or at a Dungeons and Dragons game master who is also in his or her algebra class or at a college classroom or campsite in the real world. The computer screen is displaying a story that is also a place. The slamming of a dungeon door behind you (whether the dungeon is described by words or images) is a moment of experiential drama that is only possible in a digital environment. (82)
Such moments of experiential drama carry with them meaning for the players participating in them, and in this particular example, the moment of drama hinges on the immediacy of events from the player’s perspective. This arises out of the player’s immersion in the game and relation to the game’s space. This is where questions of mediation loom large.
Part of what makes Murray’s evaluation so problematic is that it seems that the player’s experience of the dungeon in Zork does not seem any more immediate than in a tabletop or live-action analog role-playing game. The Zork player is, to be sure, not looking at a Dungeons and Dragons (first edition: TSR, 1974) game master who is also in his algebra class, a college classroom, or a campsite, but those distractions from the game’s setting are not eliminated in a computer role-playing game, only replaced by computer-related counterparts. The Zork player is looking at his computer monitor’s display, and just beyond that, its external casing serves as a reminder that he is still anchored in our world, just like relating the Dungeon Master to the algebra class while playing Dungeons and Dragons would. Looking only slightly beyond the frame of the monitor and seeing his bedroom or campus computer lab would have the same dissonant effect as the Dungeons and Dragons player looking at a classroom or campsite. In such a case, what is it about a digital environment that makes the space more concrete and immediate and the moments of experiential drama that Murray describes as possible only in them? Perhaps there isn’t such a feature at all.
Another aspect of Murray’s assertion that seems problematic is that the player does not need to do anything in order to have a meaningful experience of ‘experiential drama’, but merely to be immersed in the game, whereas interpretation and meaning-derivation are both active processes that would loosen the hold of immersion when they are used. In such a case, how could meaningfulness of experience be derived from immersion itself?
The Performative and Social Dramaturgy Perspectives on The Immediacy of Role-Playing
Daniel Mackay provides one alternate account of the mediation between role-players and their games, analog and digital alike. Mackay identifies five different frames of reference that a role-playing game player can find himself in with respect to the game and the other players (the text in brackets is my addition):
1) the social frame inhabited by the person;
2) the game frame inhabited by the player;
3) the narrative frame inhabited by the raconteur; [3rd person utterances, out of character]
4) the constative frame inhabited by the addresser; [2nd person utterances, in character]
5) the performative frame inhabited by the character [1st person utterances, in character]. (Mackay 56)
The player’s engagement in a role-playing game involves frequent shifts between these frames of reference. One example of this would be that when the players are acting out their characters in the performative frame and the doorbell rings, shunting the participants back into the social frame as their characters take a backseat to the immediate concern of whether someone is going to answer the door. A less drastic example would involve a scenario, fairly common in analog role-playing games, where the GM is describing a scene that the player characters have just entered, in the second person; “you have just reached the gate of the castle…” The GM does this in the constative frame (the narrative frame involves third person utterances). The players, in order to make sense of this utterance, shift to the same frame, as addressees. Then, the GM continues with a description of a gate-guard, who strikes up a conversation with the player-characters; “‘who goes there,’ the gate guard says, ‘friend or foe?” This is done in the narrative frame, which, again, the players shift into. If the players then answer in the first person as their characters, then they enter the performative frame, which the GM also shifts into in turn. Digital role-playing games have parallel examples to the ones I have used, such as messages popping up in the constative frame (“you get 58 gold pieces,” for example), descriptions in the narrative frame (NPCs describing a quest’s backstory), and performative utterances in the performative frame (in-character conversations between interacting characters).
Of this frame-switching, sociologist Gary Alan Fine, whose work on role-playing games informs Mackay’s, adds:
The extent of frame switching can be seen as a function of engrossment. Games are designed to provide ‘engrossable’ systems of experience in which participants can become caught up. In fact, individuals do get ‘caught up’ in fantasy gaming; however, this engrossment is a flickering involvement – it depends on events that occur in the game world. (Mackay 54)
Engrossment offers a more active formulation of what constitutes experiential drama in role-playing games than immersion does. Unlike the idea of immersion in game media, engrossment is a phenomenon that stems from immediacy rather than mediation. As such, a player is able to experience the drama and draw meaning from it, (incidentally, so long as he remains in the narrative, constative, or performative frames, his immersion is intact). This structure, present in both analog and digital role-playing games, enables the player to have an active engagement with the game that is more conducive to a meaningful game experience. It also gives the Dungeons and Dragons dungeon the same amount of concrete, objective reality as the Zork one in each frame.
To clarify this point, it is useful to look back beyond Fine and Mackay. Their works are the second and third links in a genealogical chain of scholarship that started with Erving Goffman’s concepts of social dramaturgy, as related in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life as well as Goffman’s later work. Goffman argues that people are always playing roles, to the extent that analog role-playing can take on the air of immediacy that Murray ascribes to digital environments only. Goffman quotes Robert Ezra Park, who states that:
It is probably no mere historical accident that the word person, in its first meaning, is a mask. It is rather a recognition of the fact that everyone is always and everywhere, more or less consciously, playing a role. . . It is in these roles that we know each other; it is in these roles that we know ourselves. […] In the end, our conception of our role becomes second nature and an integral part of our personality. We come into the world as individuals, achieve character, and become persons. (Goffman 19-20)
This immediacy of playing roles as a second nature in this framework also explains the ease of switching between referential frames that role-players experience. Also, other non-role-playing digital media offer fewer referential frames than this. Video games offer the social, game, and performative frames, but not the narrative or constative, generally. The additional frames in role-playing games offer additional narrative possibilities.
The Mnemonic Picture of Navigable Space
Erik Davis offers a second alternative to Murray’s claim (not exclusive to the first); one that focuses on how we construct digital spaces: as “memory palaces”. (Davis 1998, 198) The example Davis uses is that of your local shopping mall, which you have been through so often that you can construct a fairly accurate mental picture of the mall and its contents; escalators, stores, items, and associations you make between those and other things (“mental snapshots of your travels in the multiethnic food court”, (ibid) for example). Perhaps, and most likely, you cannot make a perfect representation of your local mall, “[b]ut you should [be able to] inscribe this virtual mall in your imagination so vividly that you can move through it as surely as you pad around your own home. And by mentally “clicking” on each storefront and commodity, you can also recover the information you stored there”. (ibid) This, says Davis, is a modernized example of an ancient mnemonic technique, the ars memoria, that enabled prodigious feats of memory in ancient thinkers: “Seneca, we are told, could hear a list of two thousand names and spit them back in order, while Simplicius, a buddy of Augustine, got a kick out of reciting Virgil’s Aeneid off the top of his head – backward.” (ibid)
The construction of such “memory palaces” is one way by which we interact with and understand digital spaces. We can construct a memory palace corresponding to a level of Doom (ID Software: 1993) or a World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment: 2004) area, as easily as we can make one corresponding to our local shopping mall. Likewise, we can construct a memory palace corresponding to a place our Dungeons and Dragons GM describes to us. The significance of this is that not only are we actively engaged in the game vis-à-vis its structure, as Mackay suggested, but also in relation to the game’s internal spaces, digital in digital games, imaginary environments in analog ones. We experience both types of spaces in the same way, and as such, would experience any moments of drama tied to spatiality in the same way. It might seem curious that we would need to build memory palace simulacra of spaces that we can navigate easily enough anyway; the mall is a short drive away, Doom or World of Warcraft just a few clicks removed from us. While Davis claims that this is a way of representing the structure of information, it seems to fall short, according to Ted Nelson, who states:
Once we leave behind “two-dimensionality” (virtual paper) and even “three-dimensionality” (virtual stacks) [memory palaces fall into this category], we step off the edge into another world, into the representation of the true structure and interconnectedness of information. To represent this true structure, we need to indicate multidimensional connection and multiple connections between entities. (Davis 214)
We have not found a way to represent this true structure of information, as yet. Hypertext referencing is the closest we’ve come digitally, and the memory palace is perhaps the closest we’ve come mnemonically. One possible explanation for our construction of memory palaces has less to do with representing objects and information, and more to do with processing and understanding them. Barthes argues that to understand natural, cultural, or artistic objects, we engage in what he terms ‘the structuralist activity’, a process of breaking an object down into its constitutive signs and then reconstructing it into a simulacrum that has all of the original signs intact, but also has the interpreter’s interpretations built into it – rendering the object intelligible:
Structure is therefore actually a simulacrum of the object, but a directed, interested simulacrum, since the imitated object makes something appear which remained invisible, or, if one prefers, unintelligible in the natural object. Structural man takes the real, decomposes it, then recomposes it; this appears to be little enough (which makes some say that the structuralist enterprise is “meaningless,” “uninteresting,” “Useless,” etc.). Yet from another point of view, this “little enough” is decisive: for between the two objects, or the two tenses of structuralist activity, there occurs something new, and what is new is nothing less than the generally intelligible: the simulacrum is intellect added to object, and this addition has an anthropological value, in that it is man himself, his history, his situation, his freedom, and the very resistance which nature offers to his mind. (Barthes 1972, 214-5)
In a Heideggerian fashion, the spaces become intelligible through use and navigation both of the spaces and the simulacra thereof, rather that through mediatized representation: (Heidegger 1986, 214-21)
The simulacrum, thus constructed, does not render the world as it has found it, and it is here that structuralism is important. First of all, it manifests a new category of the object, which is neither the real nor the rational, but the functional, thereby joining a whole scientific complex which is being developed around information theory and research. Subsequently and especially, it highlights the strictly human process by which men give meaning to things. (Barthes 218)
To tie this back to Murray and Mackay, because the spaces in analog and digital role-playing games are structured to allow for the frame-shifting Mackay suggests, and are equally comprehensible types of spaces, both analog and digital spaces of this kind can provide a meaningful experience of experiential drama.
Conclusion on the Narrative Potential of the Analog Role-Playing Game
In conclusion, authorship does not work the same way in analog and digital role-playing games. Presently, authorship in the digital role-playing game is rigid, procedural, and limited to the people with the rights and access to the code that makes up the environment. In the analog role-playing game, authorship is flexible, reactive, and open to all the participants as a collaborative exercise in meaning-making. Eventually, technology might catch up and open up ways in which authorship can be exerted by all. In the meantime, this is significant because of the way in which the authorship processes affect the game’s ideological loading. The rigid structures of digital authorship entail the player’s participation in an ideologically charged space that they cannot alter on that level, whereas authorship in the analog role-playing game allows the collective negotiation, navigation and evaluation of the narrative’s ideological valence. As well, in terms of narrative potential, analog role-playing games offer the same features as digital ones in terms of offering immediate experiences of ‘experiential drama’ and navigable space.
I would like to thank Chris Larin, Anthony Pereira, and David Soued, for their feedback over this work’s development, as well as spending some time proofreading a pair of drafts.
Barthes, Roland. 1972. “The Structuralist Activity”, in Critical Essays. Trans. Richard Howard. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. 213-220.
Brucato, Phil et al. 2002. Mage: The Ascension. Clarkston GA: White Wolf Publishing.
Davis, Erik. 1998. Techgnosis: myth, magic, mysticism in the age of information. New York: Harmony Books.
Dormans, Joris. “On the Role of the Die: A brief ludologic study of pen-and-paper roleplaying games and their rules”. Game Studies 6, no. 1 (2006). http://gamestudies.org/0601/articles/dormans. Last accessed December 14, 2007.
Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books,
Heidegger, Martin. 1986. “The Disclosure of Meaning”, in The Hermeneutics Reader, K. Mueller-Vollmer ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 214-221.
Mackay, Daniel. 2001. The fantasy role-playing game: a new performing art. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co.
Murray, Janet Horowitz. 1997. Hamlet on the Holodeck: the future of narrative in cyberspace. New York: Free Press.
Schleiermacher, F.D.E. 1986. “General Theory and Art of Interpretation”, in The Hermeneutics Reader, K. Mueller-Vollmer ed., Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 72-97.
Doom. 1993: ID Software.
Dungeons and Dragons. 1974: TSR.
Mage: The Ascension, Revised Edition. 2002: White Wolf.
World of Warcraft. 2004: Blizzard Entertainment.
Zork. 1980: Infocom.
Mike Skolnik is completing his M.A. in Theatre Studies at York University (Canada). His current research interests include performance studies approaches to games, ethical interactivity, digital performance and augmented reality.
Contact Email: mikeskolnik_at_gmail.com