By Seares F. H.
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Extra resources for Absolute Scales of Photographic and Photovisual Magnitude(en)(7s)
The usual way of showing that facts of pragmatics determine whether something is a fiction or not is to reflect that a single utterance or representational item might count as a fiction or a non-fiction depending on the circumstances surrounding its creation and intended use. Imagine two texts, one written to recount the life of an actual person, the other a work on the life of an imaginary person, but that happens by extraordinary coincidence to replicate the former text word for word. It is not the media or representational form – in both cases, written biography – that makes one fiction and the other non-fiction, because they share a representational form; rather, VIDEOGAMES AND FICTION 39 it is a fact about their intended function that distinguishes them, a fact which surely has to do with what the author had in mind when writing the text: the fictional work is written to be used as a prop for the imagination.
The object of the game is to avoid the other ship and the central star, while attempting to get close enough to the opponent to destroy it with the torpedoes. Though both games represent a fictional world, Spacewar has the more sophisticated world both because of the detail of its two-dimensional representations and the fact that the spaceships are subject to rudimentary laws of physics in the form of a fictional inverse r squared force – Spacewar has a Newtonian universe. Other early games utilized different means to represent their fictional worlds.
Hence, fictions invite their appreciators to psychologically engage with a world existing only in the imagination. There are various theories on offer to explain the exact nature of this imaginative involvement with fictional worlds, though there is also an immediate pitfall to sidestep. If people are aware at all of an attitude we take in regard to fictional works, they will tend to see it as involving the suspension of disbelief, the idea originally expressed by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the philosophical and autobiographical work Biographia Literaria (Engell and Bate, 1983).