Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

Games and media are comparable as far as their structures are concerned. Both obey internal rules which create an individual order and style: they create a seperate temporal and spatial sphere within a constructed world which is distinct from our everyday experience. This constructed world transforms the perception of realities into possibilities; in so far it is the basis of the creation of possible worlds with their inherent quality of the "As-If". The "As-If" of possible worlds in regard to games means that they operate in a space of restricted validity. The "As-If" creates a situationin which the players of a game reflect their acting, this means they act on a metalevel which is medial in itself, as it is mediating between reality and game (Ursula Baatz 1993). But the comparison leads to further elements which are part of both, games and media: such as suspense, dynamics, ritual, and seduction, which illuminate the cultural function of games and media.Computer games make us players in the sphere of media (Grassmuck 1995b:43).

The internal structure of a game can be characterized by its rules and its boundaries. What is constituent for a computer game is the order and sequence of places within its boundaries and not the sequence of time or chronology. These places are connected by contiguity and not by causality as Jon Adams (1996b: 194) has shown. The leading question is "where to go next." In the constructed worlds of computer games information as well as experiences are connected to places. The CD-ROM Myst contains a narrative world whose story unfolds only to an active, intrusive user willing to explore independently the given space of the island in which different worlds are hidden. The success of this exploration is based on the user's capacity to solve problems in an active way. The adventure Myst represents a world seen from the user's perspective. We don't have to move a figure through a two-dimensional field but we manipulate a three-dimensional space immediately from our point of view.