The narrative and ludic nexus in computer games: Diverse worlds II

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Brand, J.E. & Knight, S.J. (2005) The narrative and ludic nexus in computer games: Diverse worlds II. Proceedings of the Digital Games Research Association Conference, Vancouver, Canada.

A full text version of this paper is available from the Digital Games Research Association (DIGRA) website.
Copyright ©Authors & DIGRA, 2005.


To examine relationships between narratological and ludological elements in computer games, we undertook an empirical study of 80 contemporary titles. We drew inspiration from Jenkins’ 2004 paper on dimensions of narrative architecture and Aarseth, Smedstad and Sunnanå’s (2003) paper on a typology of ludological factors in games. Although these two groups of concepts have not been fully explicated, we defined them in concrete terms, citing example game titles. We intersected six groups of narratological factors with seven groups of ludological factors and present the data in this paper. Of the four dimensions of narrative architecture, evoked was most problematic and of the typology of ludological factors, topography and pace of time were least useful. The nexus between narratological and ludological factors is most obvious in the relationship between embedded and emergent narrative and player structure, determinism and strategic objective. We present implications, many game examples and future research ideas.

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