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Towards a narrative theory of Virtual Reality - page 5 / 26

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why VR should be recognised as a narrative form, but will also provide us with a set

of factors and parameters specific to the application of VR. A particular attention to

these factors should then contribute to the elaboration of a narrative theory specific

and proper to VR.

Considering narrative representation first, it is clear that the format of the book is very

different from a computer application, a cinema screen or a theatre stage. Novels

largely deliver the story in such a way that the audience has to proceed to a mental

representation of the narrative in order to image and imagine it, whereas, VR, Cinema

and Theatre directly provide a visual form for the narrative.

Time and space considerations also vary with the media. Here one can distinguish

between the time and space of narrative construction, of the narrative itself, and of the

presentation of the narrative. Literature and Cinema are able to manipulate the time

and space of the narrative very flexibly, while VR displays in real time, tying it very

strongly to a specific space and time. These constraints are linked to the very nature of

the medium, which lies in immersion and believability. A VR user would experience

rapid and repeated travel from location to location and playing with time constraints

as loss of control. A novel or film does not offer this sort of control in the first place.

The narrative of theatre also takes place substantially in real time and a defined

location, and here an episodic structure and the concept of 'off-stage' activity are used

to produce some sense of temporal and spatial richness.

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