My friend scarlet: Interactive tragedy in the path

Malcolm Ryan*, Brigid Costello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Interactive storytelling has been a topic of much debate for the past two decades. Many have foreseen exciting new works; while others have cast doubt on the whole endeavor. In terms of actual titles, most games express a familiar story of a hero triumphing against the odds in order to save the day. However, a number of recent titles have attempted to innovate. The Path is one such game. Rather than a tale of heroism, The Path is a tragedy of shattered innocence, powerfully told through play. The authors perform a close reading of this work and highlight the importance of the ludic contract between the player and the game. The authors distinguish two different contracts employed by the work, antagonistic and exploratory, which make different appeals and offer different rewards. The Path manipulates these contracts to lead the player into being both the architect of the tragedy and its helpless victim.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-126
Number of pages16
JournalGames and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


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