Espen Aarseth recently claimed that all games referred to as ’narrative games’ could better be described as ’quest games’. The writer of this paper suggests that Max Payne is a possible counter-example to this hypothesis; i.e. a game with a strong focus on narrative which is not easily understood as a quest game. The writer suggests that this, and other similar games, could better be understood in terms of a theory of ’enactment’, which is seen as related to, but not similar to theatrical acting. Extending this idea, the concept of ’the estrangement effect’ in theatre theory is used to analyze a collection of small computer games from the perspective of theory about ”serious games”.
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