A1 Journal article (refereed)
In Search of Characters Without Signifiers (2022)

Aarseth, E., & Karhulahti, V.-M. (2022). In Search of Characters Without Signifiers. Narrative, 30(2), 268-285. https://doi.org/10.1353/nar.2022.0016

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Aarseth, Espen; Karhulahti, Veli-Matti

Journal or series: Narrative

ISSN: 1063-3685

eISSN: 1538-974X

Publication year: 2022

Volume: 30

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 268-285

Publisher: Ohio State University Press

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/nar.2022.0016

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/81818


This essay explores the question whether characters can exist without being signified in any way. If characters can exist trans-medially, independently of a particular form of signification or sign-vehicle, why not exist without any signification at all? What kind of existence would such a character have? And, paradoxically, what would examples look like? While the question at face value might appear logically invalid, I argue that at (or just beyond) the minimalist end of the character-representational spectrum, we find what might be called implied characters, that is, characters that are not in any way given, represented, named, or performed, but can only exist in the minds of their players during play, as a formal slot without physical, structural, communicational, or mental properties.

Keywords: game characters; games; playing (games and sports); online games; digital games

Free keywords: characters; implied characters; game characters; minimalist characters

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:03