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Accepted Paper:

“Become Human”: Auto/Ethnographic Experiences in Science Fiction, Single Player Video Games  
Avery Delany (Goldsmiths University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper draws on ongoing fieldwork with video game developers and players, and autoethnographic experiences of science fiction single player video games which feature AI to highlight how ideas about human/non-humanness are co-created, expressed and experienced within and beyond fictional worlds

Paper long abstract:

Single player video games (SPVGs) provide a unique avenue for storytelling practices which allow players and developers to co-produce narratives; immerse players in fictional bodies, stories, times, and worlds; and explore ideas and identities in creative, engaging, and safe ways. Within my PhD research, I use science fiction SPVGs which prominently feature narratives about artificial intelligence as a nexus to explore how ideas about AI and what it means to be human (or non-human) are co-created between players, developers and games.

This paper draws on my ongoing ethnographic fieldwork to illuminate how this process happens between players and developers, as well as at multiple levels within the games including via science fictional narratives, character design, player agency and choices, worldbuilding, graphics, audio, and haptic technologies. In sharing examples from fieldwork with players and developers, and autoethnographic experiences of games like Detroit: Become Human (2018), I aim to expose how these games draw upon, reinforce and/or (re)imagine particular ideas about personhood and futures which are deeply rooted in race, gender, sexuality, disability, and citizenship.

Panel P11b
Immersed in the Story: Narrating about and with New Technologies
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -