Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Communications and Multimedia


Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries

First Supervisor

Rod Giblett

Second Supervisor

Dennis Wood


This thesis takes the position that traditional theories of "realism" and "identification" misrepresent the relationships between players and videogames, and that a cross·disciplinary approach is needed. It uses Ed Tan's (1997) and Torben Grodal's (1997) analyses of narrative, cognition, and emotion in film as a basis for interrogating existing research on, and providing a working model of, video gameplay. It develops this model through an extended account of Squaresoft's adventure role-playing game Final Fantasy X (FFX) (2001), whose hybrid narrative and game macrostructures foreground many of the problems associated with video games. The chapters respectively address; existing research on video games; how perceptual qualities of the interface determine the reality status of gameplay; how narrative and game codes regulate or retard interest; FFX's henneneutic coding of reality; the dual narrative and game coding of video game characters; the uses and limits of the psychoanalytic concept of identification when analysing video games; how gameplay promotes empathetic emotions towards characters; how players develop empathetic emotions towards themselves; and how the disjunctive quality of play may have un existential quality.

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