Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA English




Mary Balkun, PhD

Committee Member

John Wargacki, PhD


Reader Response, video games, rhetoric, narratives, American History, game composition


High-budget, long-form storytelling games offer dozens of hours of content for audiences to explore and learn from. Although far different from sitting and reading a book, there is a distinct connection to be made between how literature is experienced and how audiences can experience a narrative-heavy video game. Based on this connection, there are bridges to be built between video games and literature, understanding how one field can benefit from the other as well as how one field can be informed by the other. An analysis of the video game Red Dead Redemption 2 using reader response theory can illustrate the similarities between the experiences gained from reading and the experiences gained from interacting with digital narratives.