Margarita Khusainova – Videogames as Fiction: Expansion Pack

Whether videogames are fiction is a controversial question on its own, however committing to this
view comes with further limitations which are at times self-made. Undoubtedly it is important to place
videogames among other forms of fiction as this media deserves the philosophical interest often
reserved exclusively for classical high-brow culture. Nevertheless, focusing too much on videogames as
narrative for the sake of including them into a larger group of fiction types is overlooking unique
features of videogames that could help us understand fiction and our interaction with it as a whole. I
propose a more radical commitment to walt-fiction, that embraces complex at times layered games of
make-believe. My goal is to illustrate that studying non-narrative (not-plot-developing) interactions and
the non-narrative or story-breaking imaginings (prompted by such interactions) can be fruitful both for
understanding the relationship between work worlds and game worlds and for understanding the
nature of our aesthetic experience of a given work of fiction. Firstly, I expand on Kendal Walton’s
account of fiction and its application to video games. I will highlight the limitations of existing theories
when it comes to non-narrative elements of videogames (such as building, free roaming or customising
characters). Secondly, I will illustrate that Walton’s account is generous enough to incorporate such
elements and that explanation of the related games of make-believes can be further developed with
Husserlian notions of image consciousness, horizon and imagination. Lastly, I argue that we can apply
these insights to other more traditional works of fiction.

Keywords: Kendal Walton, Husserl, as-if, fictional horizons, game world, interactive fiction



Name: Margarita Khusainova
Institutional affiliation: Charles University, Prague (Czechia), MA Programme German and French
Philosophy, 2d year.
Previous degree: BA Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin.
Areas of research: Aesthetics of videogames, moral responsibility, narrative studies and its
transdisciplinary relationship with phenomenology, philosophy of mental illness and pain (as part of
Deutsche Schmerzgesellschaft)