Narrative Games in Ergodic Media

A paper with Pedro Cardoso at Communication Studies n. 27, vol. 2:

Computational media allow the development of very particular relationships with readers. Their nature allows them to register static information but also complex and contingent behaviours that they are capable to operationalise, thus becoming interactive and immersive. These media exist in a dual state between a surface layer and a subface layer. These two are inextricably connected, with the subface often becoming a black box that can only be peered at through surface effusions that both mediate and isolate it. The procedural layer of the subface can be discovered through a process of virtuosic interpretation that allows readers to form a theory of system, breeding empathy with it, and ultimately, transferring some of its processes to their minds. This paper focuses on how virtuosic interpretation is developed, and how from it stems the development of a unique kind of aesthetic experience. It explores how computational media, through anamorphosis and a dialectics of aporia and epiphany, become narrative games.