“All that's important is that you were honest with yourself”: Fictional Responsibility and Morality in Self-Involving Interactive Fictions

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Florida Southern College
Video games have seen an ever-increasing amount of academic attention in recent years, though most of that has attempted to classify them as something apart from pre-existing foundations. However, I argue that video games belong to an already established, but under-investigated, class of fictions: Self-Involving Interactive Fictions (SIIFs). These fictions are those that make statements in a piece of fiction true of the person participating. According to Jon Robson and Aaron Meskin, SIIFs are concerned with the participant, and “...what your actions say about who you are choosing to be in the story world.” These uniquely personal fictions occupy an interesting junction where story-telling and narrative devices meet with moral responsibility. SIIFs demand more attention on account of their philosophical and literary merits. While not the whole of the genre, some of the most popular and recognizable examples of SIIFs are video games. Therefore, I utilize 2K Games’ BioShock (2007), Toby Fox's Undertale (2015), and Obsidian Entertainment's The Outer Worlds (2019) as case studies designed to test and expand the application of the theories compiled in this paper.
Honors Thesis Fall 2021
Ethics, Video games, Fictitious characters, Imaginary places, BioShock (Game), Undertale (Game), The Outer Worlds (Game)