Doc'In Nicod

Currie and Le Poidevin at the Arcades : A case for presentism in game fictions

Hugo Hogenbirk (University of Groningen)
Practical information
07 December 2021

Commentator : Jérôme Pelletier

In this talk I argue that game fictions differ from other types of fiction in what the metaphysical status of these fiction’s timelines is. It has been argued that fictional timelines should be understood as a B-series of events (Currie 1992, Le Poidevin 1988/2001). However, I argue video game fiction’s timelines are best understood as an A-series. The now of the player and the now of the fiction coincide ; a view dubbed presentism. The now of the player ties directly into the fictional now because the player is not only shown a fiction, but is also (in their own now) influencing this fiction. Against presentism, Currie (1992) levies cases of anachrony (flash-backs/flash-forwards). Against this I argue that games exhibit only quasi-anachrony, and I identify 3 particular types of quasi-anachrony. Le Poidevin (2001) argues there are occurrences in fiction that imply the closedness of the fictional future (and thus its B-series nature). Against this I argue that there are similarly occurrences of phenomena in game fictions that suggest an open future. The article closes by suggesting that the object of fictional truths of games should be indexed on playthroughs (Willis 2019) and that this is best understood as made possible by a relation of ’co-authoring’.


Doctoral and post-doctoral seminar of the IJN

Doc’in Nicod is a biweekly seminar providing an opportunity for young researchers, doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows from the IJN to receive feedback on work in progress from fellow graduate students and researchers of the Institute. Each session will feature one researcher of the IJN as a commentator.

Location : Meeting room of the Institut Jean-Nicod, ENS, 29 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris

Contact : Armando Lavalle or Hualin Xiao