Affect, Responsibility, and How Modes of Engagement Shape the Experience of Videogames

Kevin Veale


The experience of videogames is distinct from other forms of mediated storytelling because the person playing the game can come to feel responsible for events and characters within a fictional world due to dynamics within what Brendan Keogh calls the ‘messy, hybrid assemblage’ of videogame play:

Games function through modes of engagement where people need to make decisions and take actions in order to proceed through a hybrid text, in a context that the player is affectively invested in, and which is personally relevant to both the player and their situation.  A perception of responsibility grows out of that agency, since the player’s decisions have a meaningful impact on a world and characters that they already invested in treating as if they were real.


Affect; cathexis; ergodic literature; modes of engagement, responsibility; structural incoherence; world-of-concern

Full Text:



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