The Fictional Incompleteness of Digital Gameworlds

Nele Van de Mosselaer, Stefano Gualeni


This paper presents and analyzes forms of fictional incompleteness that are commonly encountered as part of the experience of playing digital games. While some of these forms are recognized to be compatible with the incompleteness that characterizes non-interactive fictions (such as novels, paintings, and films), some of the ways in which fictional worlds are only partially presented to their users are unique to computer-mediated, interactive fictions. In this regard, this paper specifically focuses on the inevitable incompleteness of in-game affordances, the unique ways in which players experience the boundaries of gameworlds, and how incompleteness in digital games becomes apparent in the encounters with repeated instances of the same game assets


incompleteness; fiction; representation; interactive fiction; simulation; poverty; indeterminacy; interactivity; affordances; fictional world

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Published by the Digital Games Research Association.