The Wunderkammer-Gesamtkunstwerk Model: A Framework for Role-Playing Game Analysis and Design

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This article presents the Wunderkammer-Gesamtkunstwerk (Wu-Ge) Model as a framework for the analysis and design of role- playing games. This framework is divided into four parts: Sub-Creation, Ludus, Performance, and Narrative. Sub-Creation is the world-building of the role-playing game. Ludus is the game mechanics and play rules. Performance is how the role-playing game is performed by the players. And Narrative is the storyline of the role-playing game. The model seeks to connect rather than tear these four parts and does this by the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk which means that indeed all the parts should work together as a whole work of art. Another concept is the Wunderkammer which means cabinet of curiosities. In this context the role-playing game is seen as a Wunderkammer and every item, concept, or idea put into this Wunderkammer is somehow changed by the relation to the other curiosities of the Wunderkammer. Furthermore, the Wu-Ge Model presents a structure based on two dichotomies: Concrete vs. Abstract and Action vs. Contemplation. Performance and Narrative belong to the Concrete, while Ludus and Sub-Creation belong to the Abstract. Performance and Ludus belong to Action, while Sub-Creation and Narrative belong to Contemplation. This means that the role-playing game wavers between the abstract and the concrete and between active and contemplative states. The aim of the article is to show how this knowledge can be used to not only analyse role-playing games but use it as a way to design role- playing games as well. The Wu-Ge Model helps define role- playing games and understand how they work as Wunderkammer and Gesamtkunstwerk.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Role-playing games, performance, narratology , ludology, sub-creation

ID: 144337699