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  • Dawn Stobbart Returned with Edits

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Playing the Future History of Humanity: Situating Fallout 3 as a Narratological Artefact

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Abstract

Videogames as narratives exist on the margins of literary acceptance, and although digital texts are a growing genre, the term usually refers to a written text in a digital environment. From the perspective of a literary academic and a gamer, the conjunction of narrative and play in videogames is an exciting development in the interdisciplinary field of videogames.
Environmental storytelling lays the groundwork for an evolution in narrative. Primarily using the landscape, videogames help to construct and to understand, a narrative. As the narrative content of videogames has become more sophisticated, so too has the scope to consider videogames as part of the evolution of narrative expanded, changing the way narrative is delivered and interpreted by a player. As part of this, revisiting the theoretical analytical tools of traditional narratives provides a useful point from which to begin the academic study of this evolution. This paper will address narrative in the role-playing game Fallout 3, drawing on the theoretical work of Gerard Genette. It will then consider whether a narratological reading of this videogame is sufficient for analysis, or whether further, videogame-specific analysis is needed to understand the role of narrative in a videogame.