Sunday, November 29, 2009

Abstract/Proposal for Paper (Draft 2)


Transmedia Narratology, the Mystery Novel and Video Games

by William Hart and Akeem Caffee

By means of narrative criticism this paper aims to answer the following questions: (1) How do mystery narratives change when being adapted from novels to video games? (2) How should mystery video games be designed?

The specific texts analyzed are the Women’s Murder Club series of novels written by James Patterson and the four recently released Women’s Murder Club video games (3 PC and 1 DS). In the past three years Patterson’s books have sold 170 million copies worldwide, more books than any other author. In addition, Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling novels. However, there is very little scholarly analysis of Patterson’s work compared to the work of Stephen King, for example.

While video games have been around since the 1970s, only in the past decade has video game studies carved out a niche of its own. Within the growing video game studies literature there is some general study of adaptation, however, there is little attention given to adaptation within specific genres. Given that the mystery genre is especially defined by “rules” for how best to construct a mystery, adaptation from a mystery novel to a mystery video game is especially challenging. Thus, a study of how Patterson’s mystery novels have been adapted to mystery video games is worthy of some attention.

The paper concludes with some theoretical insight for transmedia narratology and some practical advice on mystery video game design. Additionally the paper gives some insight on the narratology-ludology debate found in the video game studies literature.

(Note: This paper will be written over the next couple of months.)

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