A doctoral thesis at the UIB proposes how a video game player becomes another character and interacts with others – Salud Ediciones

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Caterina Ramon Bordoi - Foto: A.COSTA/UIB

Catalina Ramon Bordoy’s doctoral thesis, «The protagonist player in interactive narratives», read in the Doctoral Program in Cognition and Human Evolution of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), delves into the psychological mechanisms that explain how the player he puts himself in the shoes of the characters and how these mechanisms influence the narrative of the video game.

Video games represent one of the most relevant artifacts of contemporary contemporary culture. And, at the same time, they are containers and spaces for the creation of cultural content. The doctoral thesis of Catalina Ramon Bordoy focuses on her study. His research has been carried out within the framework of the research activity of the Human Evolution and Cognition research group at the UIB.

The research has been framed in the field of digital culture and, specifically, in the current meaning of new interactive digital narratives and their applicability in the field of artistic experimentation. At the same time, it offers knowledge tools to illuminate some of the mechanisms implicit in the relationship between the human and a fictional character in interactive narratives.

Catalina Ramon Bordoy’s doctoral thesis explains the experience of how a narrative video game player becomes a main character and how, through this character, he relates to other fictional characters. The thesis presents a case study with a qualitative methodology and ethnographic techniques, from the video game LA Noire (Team Bondi & McNamara, 2011).

In this game, the illusion of interactive feedback between the protagonist self and the rest of the fictional characters is very clear. In the research, the concepts of immersion, identification, identity, subjectivity, presence are reviewed, the concept is applied and expanded engagement or commitment, and it is proposed as a novelty that the illusion of intersubjectivity that is generated can be explained through the notion of “second-person perspective.”

This notion (Gomila, 2002) is based on the idea that to understand what is foreign we rely on an «intentional sharing», through attentional and emotional interactions with it, it can have an application in the study of the interaction between an individual and a fictional character in a video game. The case study has allowed us to see what consequences it has, not only in the personal sphere “feeling the protagonist of a story”, but also the implications of the “intervention of a protagonist player” on the narrative construction itself.

Doctoral thesis file

PhD student: Caterina Ramon Bordoy
Qualification: “The main player in interactive narratives”
Director: Antoni Gomila Benejam
PhD program in Human Cognition and Evolution


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