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The heroic quest is used almost instinctively and often unreflectively, by many developers. But by understanding its psychological interpretation and how it relates so closely to the underlying form of most video games, developers can not only make more creatively varied games, they can also create more meaningful experiences for their players.

In part four of Games and the Imagination, Integrating the Imagination, I will explore some of the ways that the Jungian perspective given here can be used in the creation of games. Amongst other things, I will explore the way that we can use the ideas of this series to widen the language of genre to a great degree, and offer a new perspective on that thorny issue of violence in games.


1: The "hidden process" is a concept still in development; it is not yet clear how much of this process is in a game, and how much is in the mind of the player. I think that there may well be a "family" of such processes, depending on the type of game, with the process described here with its symmetry and wholeness, representing an ideal. I also think that the way a player experiences and envisions this process may have similarities with the way a person comprehends and enjoys music.

Bibliography and Suggestions for Further Reading

Campbell, Joseph, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949; 1993, Fontana)

Dare, Richard, The Yin and Yang of Games: Code and Content (2001, Gamedev.net)

Hyde, Maggie, McGuinness, Michael, Introducing Jung (1999, Icon)

Jung, Carl Gustav, Von Franz, Marie-Louise, Henderson, J.L., Jacobi, Jolande, Jaffe, Anelia

Man and His Symbols (1964; 1978 Picador)

Poole, Steven, Trigger Happy, The Inner Life of Video Games (2000, Fourth Estate)

Stevens, Anthony, On Jung (1999, Penguin)

Storr, Anthony (editor), The Essential Jung (1998, Fontana)

Von Franz, Marie-Louise, The Interpretation of Fairy Tales (1996, Shambhala)

-Shadow and Evil in Fairy Tales (1974, Spring)

About The Author

Richard Dare develops games for Smartphone and PocketPC. He would be very interested in hearing from anyone who would like to discuss his ideas or take them further. He can be contacted at: richardjdare@hotmail.com

© 2004 Richard Dare


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The Series
  The Primacy of the Imagination
  Approaching the Imagination
  The Game as Quest
  Integrating the Imagination