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Towards a narrative theory of Virtual Reality - page 3 / 26





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the intensity of different aspects or parts of the content in order to achieve a satisfying

effect on the person(s) to whom the narrative is communicated or displayed. The

recent cinematic adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings” [14] illustrates this point,

differing as it did in a number of respects from the original text, reflecting for

example the more external visual perspective of film as against the internal character-

centred commentary of a novel. What is possible in a novel is not obviously realisable

in a movie picture and vice versa. By their characteristics, narrative media generate

different narrative forms that allow them to transmit the narrative in the most efficient


Virtual Reality, as a narrative medium, through its interactivity and other

particularities, presents characteristics that none of the previously mentioned narrative

forms usually possess, and should be recognised as such.

1.3 Narrative as a dynamic process

It is apparent that narrative theories have been heavily influenced by the idea that

narrative must be authored. The relevant works and theories of Greek philosophy [15,

16], literary critics [1,17], cinema critics [2, 3, 4] and classic theatrical dramaturges,

all converge towards an authorial view on narrative. However, characteristic of VR is

that the role of the subject to whom the narrative is communicated is, in terms of

interaction, “active” in the unfolding of the narrative as opposed to its “passive” role

in most of other classical narrative media. Such distinction between spectator and user

implicates that a differentiation must also be made between authorial and interactive

approaches to narrative. On one hand, narrative is seen as an artefact that can be

studied, involving non-interactive spectators, whereas, on the other hand, it could be

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