Austin Anderson

Unmasking the Player: Extended Fiction in Game Design

This page is dedicated to my honors thesis on extended fiction in game design. It was publishe in the University of Utah 2019 Undegraduate Research Journal. This page includes links to the document and the series of gamasutra blog posts I broke the thesis down into once it was completed. I hope you check it out!

Thesis Download Gamasutra Blog


This paper’s purpose is threefold: first, to analyze video games that employ extended fiction game design techniques. Secondly, to parse out these techniques from their respective games in order find what design philosophies can be gleaned from these games, and how they can and cannot be replicated. Finally, it is to argue that the metanarrative critiques that these games offer of the video game medium, specifically critiques on player relations to the game, are best executed using these extended fiction techniques. I will do this through analysis of multiple games in multiple genres, focusing on the extended fiction elements the games have, the effects these games have on players, and what critique they’re offering. Much of this analysis will be done through the lens of what is and isn’t diegetic in the realm of the respective games, as it provides a thorough way to parse what elements specifically are involved in the extended fiction of the game and how they’re used.