Video Games and Adaptation


Cultural Studies and Media Studies / Comparative Literature

Ana Oancea (University of Delaware)

This panel welcomes reflections on the process of adapting texts / films / graphic novels into video games, being open to theoretical analyses as well as to case studies (for example, of the narrative ecosystem of franchises). It seeks to bring together the most popular approaches to studying the medium -- narratological and ludological perspectives, as well as reflections on the translation of cinematic adaptation theory to the medium of video games – in order to ensure a rich conversation.

Given the interactive nature of video games, our interpretation of adaptation also includes the player’s subversion of the scripted game narrative, the character assigned, or the setting offered. Fan-produced adaptations, such as video game mods and machinima, provide further opportunities to discuss the transformation of video games into different artifacts. Issues arising from video game production, such as translation / localization, complete our consideration of the adaptive process.

Underlying the panelists’ engagement with these diverse analytical points of view is a shared interest in understanding how changes in medium inflect narrative, settings and characters. This dimension of our conversation will allow us to relate video games to the wider context of adaptation. At the same time, a discussion of video game production and consumption will allow the panel’s engagement with trans-media storytelling to explore the specificity of the video game medium.

This panel welcomes papers on video games and adaptation, broadly conceived: theoretical takes on the adaptation process; critical assessments of text/film/graphic novel to video game adaptations; reflections on narrative development, characterization, space, and place in trans-media storytelling. We are also interested in discussing issues of translation and localization and fan-produced adaptations, such as video game mods and machinima.