“Hauntology, the Penumbra, and the Narratives of Play Experience” presented by Grace


Session Title:

  • Game Art and Digital Narrative

Presentation Title:

  • Hauntology, the Penumbra, and the Narratives of Play Experience




  • This paper collects a series of heuristics in game level design to articulate the relationship between designed experience, perceived experience, and the mechanics of play. This work aims simply to illuminate core concepts as a guide for framing the relationship between designer/ author and player/participant. It is offered simply as a philosophical lens for perceiving and designing the dynamic between created works and their perception by players. It does so by offering the concept of nested narratives recursively experienced between the played narrative and the designed narrative. It is an adaptation of Derrida’s Hauntology, applied to the context of narratives in game design, at the scale and pace of 21st century game design. In short, games are always haunted by the ghosts of the author’s designed narrative, it’s manifestation in player’s actions, and the player’s self-authored explanation of their experience. This view can be used to design experiential, multi-narrative focused games and plays on the notion of games as penumbra. They are the penumbra which lay like ghosts in each new design.