“From Game Story to Cyber Drama” – Janet Murray

In “From Game-Story to Cyberdrama,” Janet Murray considers the many similarities between games and narratives without disparaging their differences in such a way that is derogatory or divisive to one or the other. She notes that games and stories share two key structures: contest and puzzles. Furthermore, she notes that both games and stories are insularly or removed from real-world consequence. Given their shared structures and the freedoms they provide players, cyberdramas (which Murray defines as “the enactment of the story in the particular fictional space of the computer”) present the ideal space for people to experience and interpret the human condition. She states, “The digital medium is the appropriate locus for enacting and exploring the contests and puzzles of the new global community and the postmodern inner life” (3). Cyberdrama, she adds, also allow for replay stories, or stories in which the player/interactor can “experience all the possibilities of a moment” (7). Rather than be confined to a single choice, as in life, cyberdramas allow for the possibility to experiment and reflect on the multitude of possibilities presented and their reciprocal outcomes. In turn, by experimenting with such multiplicity the player/interactor can critical reflect on him or herself and the world they inhabit. This, Murray observes, is where the potential for cyberdrama really lies and why, rather than trying to enforce genre boundaries between game and story, we should instead, “think of how characteristics of stories and games and how these characteristics are being recombined and reinvented within the astonishingly plastic world of cyberspace” (10). 

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