The role of the subject in the hermeneutic analysis of video games

Keywords: videogame, hermeneutics, player, subject, let’s play, procedural rhetoric, interpretation, ludology


The article reveals the main hermeneutic categories related to the research of the subject of interpretation and demonstrates their transformations in the field of game studies. The study of meaning-making of videogames requires the analysis of the subject interpreting videogames. Hermeneutics as theory, philosophy and methodology of interpretation allows such study. Different approaches to hermeneutic analysis of videogames are disclosed. It is stated that the main subject of videogames is the player as an interpreter that differs from the spectator / reader. The practical nature of the analytic activity of a videogame player with the purpose of achieving certain goal is examined. The player is considered an actor who can not only play along the game rules, but also try to break them. It is delineated that the player can act both as player and as spectator simultaneously during the process of playing. Videogames propose different information sources inside the game world that can be interpreted by the player with the aim of better understanding the game world. Another important subject of videogame is the developer, who also appears different from the author of other works of art and continues to reinterpret his own product even after its release. The difference between the communication of player and developer and communication of simple author and spectator is described. The spectator of Let’s Plays and streams is also considered as the subject interpreting videogames. This subject may be both passive and active in different situations. It is stated that spectator interprets not only videogame itself, but also player and his actions. The article demonstrates the differences between named subjects and shows how they influence on each other. Together they produce the meaning and interpretation of videogames. Further exploration of categories of developer and spectator in philosophical discourse is considered an important direction for comprehensive understanding of videogame polysubjectivity and deepening hermeneutical analysis of videogames.


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How to Cite
Maletska, M. (2019). The role of the subject in the hermeneutic analysis of video games. HUMANITARIUM, 41(3), 114-124. Retrieved from