e-Lit Resource
Video Games

Video games are interactive games designed with graphic images, sound, music, and/or other effects (i.e. controller vibration). These games are viewed on a display via a video screen using an electronic system or ‘platform’, such as a computer, handheld device, or video game console (i.e. Nintendo or PlayStation). Players manipulate or control the action of the game through a connection to this platform via an input device, such as a keyboard or game controller.

Video games, as we know them today, came about in the 1970s, though games played on computers have been around as far back as the 1940’s and 50’s. Video games can simulate real-life games (e.g. chess, soccer, or baseball) or are designed to create new, artificial worlds (e.g. Mario Bros and Grand Theft Auto). Over decades of development, video games have diversified into many genres depending on the intent of their design, including serious games, casual games, and educational games.

As video games have grown in scope, so have interactive fictions (e-Lit), which have become increasingly more game-like (e.g. Inanimate Alice). A number of literary scholars, such as Stuart Moulthrop, Andrew Mactavish, and Anastasia Salter, have written on the impact and significance of this intersection of interactive fiction and video games.

Development of mobile app games has also added complexity in the categorization of these two fields. Mobile apps based on a narrative, such as Bury Me My Love, are classified as games, however they often use a text messaging format to tell a story – making it a game of mostly dialogue. With such new forms of games and narratives being developed, it is clear the terms ‘video game’ and ‘interactive fiction’ will continue to evolve.