Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

David Golumbia

Second Advisor

Les Harrison

Third Advisor

Ryan Patton


This thesis examines the evolution of gaming criticism (specifically ludology and narratology) and games as a medium of expression through the use of case studies. These case studies look at some of the core aspects of four major titles (The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn, various BioWare games and Journey) and survey how these games work to effectively employ a narrative while maintaining an immersive, intuitive system for the player to interact with. Through these titles, the thesis suggests that in order to gain a full scope of a game’s intentions, studies should analyze more than the base story or gameplay, but rather the correlations between them as well as the ways that the visuals and audio aspects interact and enhance the narrative. Furthermore, it suggests the importance of creating gameplay that works with the story in order to ensure that the player always feels as though they have a stake in the outcome of the game, regardless of the nature of the narrative.


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