Books, Libraries, and (Deep) Reading in Video Games

Abstract: The text presents a discussion on the conditions enabling video games to incite “deep” reading. The conversation attempts to highlight the textuality of video games. Reading is often included in video games with various degrees of functionality, and the conversation tries to trace this multiplicity by commenting on various examples and cases. Among the more significant uses of reading in games is the inclusion of pieces of literature as interactive items. This is considered in the discussion as a significant way in which video games present literature as a determining dimension of their own operation. The literariness of video games has often been overlooked in the analysis of video games, and the discussion attempts to define some of its aspects: the way gameplay experiences are temporalized, the way they connect to narrative and other game systems in a figurative way, and the significance of interruptions of actions by the demands of reading.

Keywords: Video games, deep reading, interaction, textuality, literariness, temporalization, figurativeness

Miglena Nikolchina, PhD is a Professor at the Department of Theory of Literature at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. Her writing has been motivated by a lasting interest in the various aspects of utopian thinking, which she approaches in the interactions of literature, philosophy, political studies, and feminist theory. In English, her publications include the books Matricide in Language: Writing Theory in Kristeva and Woolf (2004) and Lost Unicorns of the Velvet Revolutions: Heterotopias of the Seminar (2013); and, in the area of game studies, the article “Time in Video Games: Repetitions of the New,” differences 28.3 (2017).

Enyo Stoyanov has a BA in Bulgarian Philology, MA in Literary Studies from the University of Sofia and in Literature and Philosophy from the University of Warwick, UK. Currently he is an assistant professor in Sofia University and part-time researcher in Institute for Literature, BAS. He has published articles I the fields of literary theory  and cultural studies.


Books, Libraries, and (Deep) Reading in Video Games – Miglena Nikolchina and Enio Stoyanov (pdf)

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