Characters

Authored by: Jessica Aldred

The Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533324
eBook ISBN: 9780203114261
Adobe ISBN: 9781136290510

10.4324/9780203114261.ch44

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Abstract

Video game characters are deceptively complex entities: They are at once interactive representatives of the player in the game world, fictional entities that serve to advance the story of the game world, and proprietary symbols of the larger game franchise they belong to, their recognition and value maximized through licensed products. Despite their superficial similarities to characters that originate in other media, video game characters require their own, medium-specific analytical framework to be adequately theorized and understood. Since their representational and ludic traits are subject to the rapid technological changes that typify their nascent medium, this framework must itself be thought of as a moving target. This essay examines some of the major critical debates surrounding video game characters as both player-operated protagonists and licensed franchise intellectual property.

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