Literary Experience and Narrative Immersion in the Interactive Digital Game Narrative as The Sense of Being There in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrimn


  • Daehyun Won Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas, United States, 76204


digital games, interactive narrative, narrative immersion, role-playing games


There has been lively debate about digital games in terms of their literary value, especially in terms of whether they do or do not have a narrative. Many narratologists have argued that digital games possess a unique narrative structure known as interactive narrative. This provides players of digital games with direct or indirect interactions with various interactive elements in the relevant virtual settings so as to modify or create a sequence of events. It is also true that the interactive narrative provides pleasurable literary experiences based on vivid narrative immersion, which is at the same degree or higher than what a textual narrative can provide to readers. Narrative immersion can be facilitated through the immersive spatial, temporal and emotional dimensions of the interactive narrative, which intensifies the literary experience of the player. Still, digital games have pre-narratability and structural differences between traditional text-based linear and digital non-linear interactive narratives, and this has led many critics to claim that digital games simply cannot deliver a complete narrative. However, there is an open-world role-playing game, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which provides an evidential counterargument to its confronters who make that claim. The questbased interactive narrative structure of Skyrim makes available a narrative immersion for players which speaks to the sense of being there.

This paper will argue that digital games can deliver narrative and provide narrative immersion which is as pleasurable as that which attaches to literary experiences. We will explore the degree of pre-narratability in interactive narratives, narrative immersion in digital games, as created by the cognitive narrative perception of players about the sequence of events, as well as four crucial testimonies regarding pleasurable literary experiences which come from the narrative immersion of Skyrim. This means that it can be proven that digital games are the most futuristic narrative format for next-level literary experiences.