Project Masterthesis: Of Fairy Tales & Digital Games

Masterthesis: Of Fairy Tales & Digital Games

MultiMediaArt, 2012

Fairy tales are a classic narrative genre which, although hundreds of years old, is still seen as a valuable form of narrative that can teach something about the world and its social implications, and that can provide relevant meaning to children and readers in general. And yet, fairy stories are not at all non-controversial. They feature a lot of motifs that are normally regarded with caution, especially when associated with children: violence and death, dark places, vile characters and scary situations are just some of them. A lot of these aspects and motifs are also common for digital games. Yet while fairy tales are still mainly regarded as meaningful narratives and valuable cultural goods, games are criticized for these characteristics, and are often perceived by the public as mindless entertainment that does not bear any relevance to real life. Is this critique really justified? What are the differences between hearing a fairy tale and playing a fantastic computer game? And could some of the unique characteristics of digital games turn out to hold a lot of potential when it comes to creating and conveying meaning to players? This thesis deals with how fairy tales and digital games can create and offer meaning to their recipients or users. It examines how fairy tales and games work to create engaging yet relevant and meaningful experiences for adults as well as children and which rhetoric devices they use in the process. It also investigates their respective roles and reputations in society, and in how far modern digital games have come to fulfill functions formerly offered by fairy stories.