DH Unbound 2022 : Diversity of immersion mechanics in videoludic novels

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DH Unbound 2022 : Diversity of immersion mechanics in videoludic novels

J’aurais le très grand plaisir d’intervenir dans le cadre de la conférence virtuelle DH Unbound 2022, organisée par the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) et la Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numériques (CSDH/SCHN). Cette conférence se tiendra en ligne du 17 au 19 mai 2022. 

Mon intervention sera effectuée en binôme avec Pierre Gabriel Dumoulin, candidat au doctorat interdisciplinaire en études sémiotiques à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, et s’intitulera :

Diversity of immersion Mechanics in Videoludic Novels.


Interactive fictions are digital narrative artworks that require little to no dexterity. These multimedia fictions do not require any manipulation proficiency to access and explore their stories. However, they demand mechanics and gestures specific to narrative models (Juul, 2007). These items, between literature and videogame, call for the analyses of their own modes of interaction and consumption (Aarseth, 1997; Hayles, 2007). Other than game studies (Triclot, 2017), reading and book theories are used here as we consider the latter as a form of the ludic, through the establishment and transgression of “magic circles” (Huizinga, 1938; Picard, 1986; Macé, 2011).

In this environment, the art experiment is a matter of intermediality, between literature and game interaction, voluntary and engaged. Our study poses this reading experience as immersion, plunging into a another world and exploring its possibilities. Following Ryan (2001), we define immersion as an entertaining exprience, where the human subject gets lost in the text, transported in its fictional universe; incorporated (Calleja, 2013) into the work, thus reproducing reading moves through the narrative mechanics.

Since its physical inscription in the cultural work and the resulting sensations strongly influence the reception of these works (Citton, 2012; Bigé, 2018; Garmon, 2020), the body’s implication in these gestures questions the place of the work, between the player’s body, the game, and the space between them. This varied involvement, modifies both the narrative mechanics and the immersion possibilities (Ryan, 2004; Murray, 1997).

We’ll first situate the reading gestures and the narrative mechanics before going through the analysis of a small selection of our corpus to determine how narrative traditions evolve in the video game universe. These components will, lastly, allow us to draw conclusions on how videogame practices have shaped the development of interactive fiction and the reader/player’s experience.

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