Narrative Time in Computer Games - Order

Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

Order in a printed narrative text is the relation of the chronology of the events being told and the order of the narrative. According to Genette's analysis this order can be described as a fixed relation which is the result of the book's materiality. Computer games cannot be described in the same terms. Neither are the single episodes fixed in the order a player explore them, nor is the order of the narrative itself fixed. The chronology of the events or places is interchangeable. The only fixed points are places, where a code has to be solved and where the pages and books are hidden. The beginning of our travel and the end are fixed points in the game, but there is no order in Genette's sense. Within these very few fixed points there are multiple readings with different chronologies and not one fixed order.