My Master's Thesis:
Theorising Video Game Narrative

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In 2003, as part of my Master of Film & Television degree at Bond University in Australia, I wrote a minor thesis, entitled Theorising Video Game Narrative. Although it's relative short as far as theses go ("only" about 30,000 words), it deals with some things that really haven't been explored very much in game studies before - a lot of the work so far written about video game narrative has dealt with the subject in a rather prescriptive manner, in the context of the so-called gameplay vs. narrative debate. Although this debate is also discussed in my thesis, I've focused above all on not on prescription but on description - that is to say, rather than telling people how game narrative should look like, I've been talking about what it actually looks like.

This thesis is available here in two versions - there is an HTML version for online reading, and a Portable Document Format (PDF) version available for download if you wish to read it offline. The PDF version is highly recommended in particular for printing (or rather, I strongly recommend not printing the HTML version - it's simply not designed to be printable).

You can download the standard PDF version here. There is also a double-spaced PDF version here.

In this HTML version of this work, each chapter is a separate HTML page (the main reason why I recommend the PDF for printing). To make navigation easier, every chapter that has subsections or footnotes has quick links to all of these subsections listed at the start. Furthermore, the footnotes are always at the bottom of the file, but can be quickly accessed using links built into the text. To begin reading, simply follow one of the links from the table of contents below, or use the link at the bottom of this page.

Table of Contents



  1. Introduction
  2. The gameplay vs. narrative debate
  3. Reader, actor and narrator - subjectivity, performance and narration in video games
  4. Structural models in non-linear environments
  5. Conclusions
  6. Bibliography
  7. Games Cited

[begin reading]

Copyright 2003 Jakub Majewski