Metareferentiality through in-game images in immersive simulation games

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Digital games have a tenuous relationship to reality; in most cases, they are rather simulacra than simulations, offering a simulation-like situation that does not relate to any preceding reality but creates a virtual world precedented only in other fictional or virtual works. The visuals of mainstream, Triple-A games counteract this ontological disconnect through an overabundance of detail and flourish in a perennial struggle for verisimilitude. This paper discusses two examples which, while generally adhering to this convention, introduce elements of subversion into their visual logic. It will show that there are various metaleptic ludic devices - such as virtual reality environments within virtual worlds and reality-changing paintings - with which contemporary digital games reflect subtly upon their own relationship to reality, and upon the player's oscillation between agency and powerlessness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFoundations of Digital Games Conference Proceedings
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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