Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the ways in which a player’s choices are affected by rhetoric in choice-based video games. This study used rhetorical criticism, specifically narrative criticism, to analyze the text and other video game elements, such as the music, sound, visuals, and gameplay, of two choice-based video games: Undertale (Toby Fox) and Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment). To accomplish this, the author played Life is Strange twice to make almost every choice in the game, and played Undertale three times through, once for each of the game’s three routes. The results are that there are four major factors that influence player choice in both games: the way consequence is communicated in both diegetic and non-diegetic ways to the player; real-world consequences, or consequences of the player’s choices that affect features of the game outside of the narrative; the use of consequence as a persuasion tactic, meaning that as the player receives consequences, they are used by the game to influence future choices; and the ways the gameworld, such as non-playable characters, and word choice work to emotionally impact the player.

Advisor

Kies, Bridget

Department

Communication

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Keywords

video games, choice-based, narrative interactivity

Publication Date

2019

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2019 Mary Susan Stehulak