Juul and Video Games

In responding to Kyle’s last post regarding Juul’s article and video games, I found almost the entire article supporting the fact that video games have narratives—at least of some sort or another.  Juul lists three reasons why video games should be considered a narrative medium: “1) We use narratives for everything. 2) Most games feature narrative introductions and back-stories. 3) Games share some traits with narratives,” and then describes three other arguments on why they shouldn’t be.  Although I agreed with most of the arguments, I thought that most everything pointed to video games containing narratives– except for his point on Time.


            One of Juul’s arguments against narratives was that games don’t always reflect the same narrative as the movie or medium they were adapted from.  This was supported with the Star Wars example, which ultimately said “Star Wars the game can not be said to contain a narrative that can be recognized from Star Wars the movie.”  I think this is more a mislabeling problem than a question of whether or not the game has a narrative.  The game definitely has a narrative…it’s just not the same as the one in the film.  But this is the creators fault and I’m sure if they wanted to produce a game with the same narrative they could find a way.  It is just a simple mislabeling because the creators want to make money by having the game reflect the big-name movie, yet they still want the game to be good so they deviated from the original narrative so that it would better suit their medium.


            Juul also describes the relationship of the player to the game and how this is different from other narrational mediums—but I didn’t really understand how this is supposed to support the idea that video games don’t have narratives.  Of course games encourage the player because of the evaluative process, but how does this direct involvement discourage a narrative?


            Finally, I did agree a lot with Juul’s second point about Time, Game, and Narrative—and I think that anybody who argues for video games not having a narrative should use this as they’re main point.  If the basic definition of a narrative means that it has taken place in the past and is now over, then video games can absolutely not fit into this category because of their interactivity.  While playing a game, the player is participating in and affecting the current story—therefore the game does not take place in the past and cannot be considered a narrative.


Ok, that’s it for now.  I hope you all had a great thanksgiving and we’ll see you tomorrow!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *