The Interplay of Thematic and Ludological Elements in Western-Themed Games

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    Abstract

    The Wild West has been productized and remediated a number of times over the last hundred of years – and even earlier than that. Computer and video games are a relative newcomer in this string of remediations, distilling the essential elements of the Western even further into archetypal scenes, characters and modes of play. Expanding on our previous works on genres, we study a colorful selection of Western-themed games, 31 in total, with the aim to reveal how a firmly established and codified theme affects gameplay. A well-established theme, such as the Western, manifests itself at very different depths based on the kind of game we are dealing with – at minimum, it acts as an artificial surface that does not affect the gameplay at all. At the other end of the spectrum, the theme affects all the aspects of a game, ranging from its audiovisual presentation to the narrative and the actions available to the player.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-73
    Number of pages34
    JournalKinephanos
    Issue numberspecial issue May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Keywords

    • Western
    • game genres
    • video games
    • thematization

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