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Heavy Hero or Digital Dummy? Multimodal Player–Avatar Relations in Final Fantasy 7

By Andrew Burn and Gareth Schott


This article analyses the player-avatar relation in Final Fantasy 7, drawing on multimodality theory to analyse textual structures both in the game and in the discourse of player-interviews and fan writing. It argues that the avatar is a two-part structure, partly designed in conventional narrative terms as a protagonist of popular narrative, and partly as a vehicle for interactive game-play. The former structure is replete with the traditions and designs of Japanese popular narrative, oral formulaic narrative and contemporary superhero narratives; and is presented to the player as an offer act – a declarative narrative statement. The latter is a construct of evolving attributes and economies characteristic of roleplaying games; and is presented to the player as a demand act – a rule-based command. Though these two functions separate out in the grammar of player and fan discourse, it is their integration which provides the pleasure of gameplay and narrative engagement

Year: 2004
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