Style, Consistency and Plausibility in the Fable Gameworld
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Gameworlds are the expression of a complex cultural and textual interaction, in which the foundational structures of the videogame solicit investment and belief from the player. Style arbitrates this solicitation, causing all aspects of the gameworld to conform to a common aesthetic line. This process is rarely so efficient however, and contemporary videogames such as Fable demonstrate the messiness of this ideological contract between the ambiguous roles of producers and consumers of videogames. Of particular interest to me are the textual strategies through which games developers rationalise both the material and imaginary limits of the worlds they create. While a videogame may suggest a spatial and temporal infinity in its worldview, nonetheless those edges are eventually encountered. While we can see the distant hilltop horizon or gaze out to sea in Fable, the restricted exploratory potential means that we can never reach that place. The imaginary investments of gamers overcome this material limitation, extending both positively and negatively beyond the limits of play, either to praise or criticise the potential gameworld. Elements of this research had previously appeared as: • Surman, D. (2005) "Style, Consistency and Plausibility in the Fable Gameworld" Creative Gamers Symposium, Tampere, Finland. 11th - 12th January. • Surman, D. (2004) "From Realism to Reality Effect and Affect: Epistemological Issues in Realist Theories of Animation" Society for Animation Studies Annual Conference, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 11th - 13th October.
Animated Worlds, pp.153-172