VISITING THE VIDEOGAME THEME PARK

Bobby Schweizer

Abstract


Theme parks have been depicted as places of adventure and play throughout the history of videogames by adapting their architectural form, sights and sounds, and activities. Theme parks are a form of spatial media that remediates the already remediated that shares a number of common qualities with videogames. A survey of games set in theme parks demonstrates how they have been constructed to support types of play and reveals expectations about interactivity and player agency. The primary difference in these participatory expectations—communal versus individual action—is manifest in the way videogames create a “theme park for one” in which the player becomes a special actor. This chapter examines how games set in both familiar and fictional theme parks find ways of justifying the shifted role of the individual as they attempt to adapt the traditional values of theme park design into a different interactive medium. 


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