• Metaproceduralism: The Stanley Parable and the Legacies of Postmodern Metafiction

    Author(s):
    Bradley J. Fest (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Group(s):
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century American, TC Digital Humanities
    Subject(s):
    American literature, Cultural studies, Digital humanities, Media studies
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    20th Century Literature, Metaficiton, Postmodernsim, The Stanley Parable, Video games
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6V02N
    Abstract:
    Most critics of contemporary literature have reached a consensus that what was once called “postmodernism” is over and that its signature modes—metafiction and irony—are on the wane. This is not the case, however, with videogames. In recent years, a number of self-reflexive games have appeared, exemplified by Davey Wreden’s The Stanley Parable (2013), an ironic game about games. When self-awareness migrates form print to screen, however, something happens. If metafiction can be characterized by how it draws attention to its materiality—the artificiality of language and the construction involved in acts of representation—The Stanley Parable draws attention to the digital, procedural materiality of videogames. Following the work of Alexander R. Galloway and Ian Bogost, I argue that the self-reflexivity of The Stanley Parable is best understood in terms of action and procedure, as metaproceduralism. This essay explores the legacies of United States metafiction in videogames, suggesting that though postmodernism might be over, its lessons are important to remember for confronting the complex digital realities of the twenty-first century. If irony may be ebbing in fiction, it has found a vital and necessary home in videogames and we underestimate its power to challenge the informatic, algorithmic logic of cultural production in the digital age to our detriment.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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