Examining authorship and identity through the player-avatar relationship in video games

This thesis examines authorship and identity through the player’s relationship with the avatars of God of War III and The Last of Us. God of War III allegorizes a poststructural understanding of authorship, as the game forces the player to navigate a paradoxical position of power and powerlessness. The Last of Us highlights a poststructural understanding of identity development, as the player continuously develops and renegotiates their identity in relation to Joel, the most dominant figure in the narrative. Both games highlight how the player’s agency stems from their experience participating in the narrative while navigating the rules and limitations that structure the games.