Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 53 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Mike Hill

Committee Members

Jill Hanifan


Video games, Play (Philosophy), Virtual reality, Red Dead Redemption 2 (Game), Space and time, Avatars (Virtual reality)

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


My project, a critical thesis titled “I Play Therefore I Am: Deconstructing Ludic Identities,” investigates the relationship between ludic entanglement and the human subjective experience in video games. By using Gilles Deleuze’s cinematic interpretation of movement and time, I establish that video games manipulate virtual time and space to map agency onto the subjective experience of the player, thereby creating ludic entanglement. Ludic entanglement is the process by which the player can function in virtuality through a video game’s avatar. My project culminates in an analysis of Rockstar Game’s Red Dead Redemption 2, a video game that refigures ludic entanglement in order to rehabilitate the historical trauma of Native Americans. In my analyses, I synthesize the fields of games studies, neuroscientific theory, film studies, and computation theory to conclude that video games can entangle the human subjectivity to reenact historical trauma, resituate textuality onto the human subjective experience, and transform virtual reality into a universal consciousness. I argue that in order to understand how video games successfully manipulate ludic space and time, we must first understand how they entangle the human subjective experience. Investigating the implications of ludic entanglement will allow games scholars to be clear about a potentially troubling subject matter: what effects do video games have on people’s lives? For literature scholars, this project hopes to demonstrate the value of a variable textuality in video games like Red Dead Redemption 2, and this project also hopes to see more literature scholars play more games.