Play Episode, in “Weimaerer Beiträge, Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft, Ästhetik und Kulturwissenschaften”, 4/2013, Herausgegeben von Peter Engelmann gemeinsam mit Michael Franz und Daniel Weidner, Passagen Verlag.
This essay explores the relationship between modern concepts of time and serial storytelling. I will argue that the dominance of serial narratives in television today is based on its presentation of time as eternal present time, as temporality itself. We no longer think of time as a step-by-step chronology, neither in an etiological (epic) nor in a causal (dramatic) way. Rather, we see time as a constant of change, always in flux. Time in that sense translates well in serial narrative and in the three-dimensional story architecture of games. After briefly addressing the history of serial narratives, I will demonstrate how serial storytelling and games could merge to become a new form of audio-visual narrative by combining empathy-driven dramatic storytelling and interactivity. I will conclude that such a form could become the future medium to collaboratively build the utopian future that went missing in the terrors of the twentieth century.
When my time comes, tell me?
My starting point is the idea that social relations and media are connected, and that every revolution employs the most current medium of its time. In the nineteenth century, women’s rights movements emerged and the novel thrived; female authors and literary protagonists (re)appeared. In the twentieth century, the cinematic experience met Freudian dream analysis: the terms dream image and projection were used in both cinema and psychoanalysis. A utopian promise was projected on to the screen, comprising a new storytelling mantra. The future dream of twentieth century was communism—a cinematic dream. People were thrilled by records and races, by trains and cars speeding faster and faster into the future.
Today, the speeding fantasies of the twentieth century have left man behind, incapable of keeping up with the rapidity of information production. Between the years 1500 und 1900, it took one hundred years for mankind’s knowledge to double; today it takes five. These days, the term up-dating best resonates with our understanding of time . Time is perceived as permanent present time; it has been replaced by temporality. Our understanding of time no longer corresponds to a chronology of step after step, but rather to a flow of continuous crisis. Time in that sense no longer correlates with a linear narrative like cinema drama, but with a storytelling structure that has neither beginning nor end, consisting of a stream of indefinite changes, episodes and seasons, a form like serial storytelling. The word episode originally referred to the commentaries between two choric songs in a Greek tragedy, an incidental narrative or digression, an inbetween. The serial term season refers to the eternal circle of annual climatic changes. TV series in this sense refers to horizontal serial narrative structures, in which a story arc spans over one or more seasons.
Vertical series in contrast, line up in a chain of completed stories within each and every episode. The difference between the two is fundamental. Network TV, financed by advertising, prefers vertical TV series, as they can be programmed at will and garner better ratings. The audience for a vertical series can engage without pre-knowledge of the set up, and enjoy the show without having seen previous episodes. Horizontal TV series dominate in Pay TV. Every episode is part of an on-going chain of events that the viewer needs to have seen in order to understand what comes next. Characters are complex and informed by their past trauma and experience. Only by following the entire season can the audience member understand the characters’ motivation.
A horizontal TV series like The Sopranos consists of 86 episodes, each approximately 50 minutes long. It is equivalent to 72 hours of narrative time and 8 years of narrated time. Serial storytelling creates its own space-time-continuum. We speak of story worlds and story architectures that are within themselves complete and follow their own temporality. For the audience, real time stands still while story time elapses. The title sequence of The Sopranos shows the World Trade Center in Tony Soprano’s rear view mirror in season one to three. It disappears in season four. Real time separates from the linear perception. Horizontal series override chronological time. Hence, here we find at least four layers of time: First, the narrated time of the author telling us about the Soprano Family in Montclair, New Jersey. Second, the 50-minute running time of each episode. Third, the real time in which the World Trade Center disappeared in September 2001 in the real world, manifest in the story world one year later in September 2002 in season 4. Fourth, the time the viewer takes to watch the episodes, which could take minutes in fast motion or a lifetime of intermittent viewing. Of course, this phenomenon is not new. In the cinema, the viewer entered a dream world and felt out of time, just like the nineteenth century novel reader lost himself in the narrative, unaware of the exterior time.
Yet serial storytelling creates a new temporality entirely. Different from the story matrix of change and growth in (dramatic) films and novels, the characters in serial narrations don’t change. Serial protagonists are tragic heroes. In a tragic dilemma, the hero has to choose between two trajectories, one is death in the right life, the other staying in the wrong life. There are two dramatic forms, tragedy and comedy. In tragedy the protagonist dies, and in comedy all ends happily, which means that almost every modern film is in a strictly dramaturgical sense a comedy. In tragedy the protagonist dies, because he does not come to terms with his defining character flaw, but instead is willing to die to reach his goal. In comedy—in a strictly dramaturgical sense—the protagonist acknowledges his need over his want. The typical cinema story is about a hero’s growth and learning. In serial storytelling, Tony Soprano sticks to Tony Soprano. His panic attacks prod him to seek therapy. He tries to overcome his trauma, but fails. The gangster, the original form of the capitalist, is a tragic hero. He appropriates other people’s property and forces them to work for him. He cannot change, but is stuck in his tragic dilemma: to kill or to be killed. Time runs circular. At the end of each episode we are back in the beginning. He fails again, and again, and again. He gains only weight. The mobsters age, but remain true to their neuroses and character flaws. In the TV series Ellen, Ellen DeGeneres lost her audience when she had her coming out in episode 23 of season four, not because her audience was homophobic, but because the character had violated the development proscription. The story ended. Thus, horizontal series are either tragic or they terminate.
Not by chance this repetition coincides with the Freudian concept of compulsive repetition. Horizontal TV series mirror the collective neuroses of our time and by doing so, serve as collective dream work. For the audience, Tony Soprano and Walter White are our projections of empowerment, signaling an exit from the systematic traumatization exemplified by appropriation of our surplus product, and personal property (foreclosure, unaffordable health care, student loans, etc.) and the everyday practice of forced labor. Serial storytelling heroes allow for a voyeuristic fantasy and in that sense differ from avatars in games, as I will address in detail later.
The current discourse and critical enthusiasm for TV refers to these horizontal, tragic, postmodern narratives. In reality however, horizontal series are rarely found, they are vastly outnumbered by vertical formats. In network TV, police and mystery genres dominate the airwaves, always starring a police detective—the representative of peace keeping powers—in a vertical serial narrative. The vertical narrative ultimately reinstalls the current order as a “good” order, associated with positive feelings, with peace. In a horizontal TV series, the king of thieves is the ruler. In a vertical dramatic series, Horatio Cane, the CSI detective with the telling name, prevails. Spread fear and offer protection. Medical/hospital shows work in a similar way. Spread fear (of death & disease) and offer protection (healing). The vertical TV drama of commercial television harnesses the power of collective neuroticism and of the collective need to seek healing through story. Its goal is not to unsettle, but to settle by entertaining. 
In contrast to the CSI model, writer/producer David Simon created tragic detectives in The Wire that almost never arrest anybody, but realize that the true criminals are the people in power, their bosses. In season one the viewer is led to conclude that drug trafficking is a government-operated genocide of the African-American population. Here, the tragedy is not centered around the tragic hero, but around the tragic collision between individual and society. The protagonist’s dilemma manifests itself in two contradictory values: the detective’s oath to serve the state, and the detective’s ethics to seize the culprit. This is tragedy.
In horizontal TV series, the tragic dilemma repeats itself in each and every episode. Here, the contemporary perception of time as a constant of change meets the ancient tragic world view that refuses the notion of change. The viewer is forced to repeat the tragic dilemma in compulsive repetition through every episode. The cathartic experience is delayed again and again until the season’s final. This is how horizontal TV series produce their addictive quality and serve as the prominent narrative structure of the early twentieth century.
Brief History of Serials
Serial Storytelling is not that old. It emerged in the nineteenth century with mass marketing of newspaper-based entertainment. Serials tied the reader to the paper. They were horizontal narratives that ranged from pulp serial novels to remarkable literary works like Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers (a vertical comedy), Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (a horizontal tragedy, with Uncle Tom dying in the end). After the Second World War, television became the new ruling mass medium, with a business plan that depends on the selling of advertisement minutes. The price per minute is based on the quality and quantity of its viewers, thus a TV program aims to have as many viewers as possible and to put them in a shopping-friendly mood. With the advent of television, serial drama moved from print to the world of broadcast syndication, to tie the viewer to the small screen. Here it transformed into a narrative sui generis, the TV series.
Different from drama, which is generally structured in three acts, TV series come in four, five or even seven acts, depending on the number of commercial breaks included. Every act ends with a cliffhanger—a turning point or perepeteia as Aristotle would have put it—to make the audience stay through the commercials and remain eager to learn how the story will continue. In the 1980s, cable TV started selling ad-free programming to subscribers. In 1989, Time Inc. (a cable provider) and Warner Communications (a film producer) partnered to found Home Box Office (HBO). The new PayTV channel had access to movie rights and started broadcasting cinema: not TV, but ad-free top movies. HBO diversified its program and started sub channels like HBO 2, 3, and HBO Comedy for special interest groups. For the first time, TV did not aim to broad-cast, but to group-cast. Eventually HBO began to produce films for niche audiences, thereby creating its own brand and soon garnering over 10 million subscribers. When video recording technology became widely available and video rentals emerged, the HBO movie business concept declined. Subscribers cancelled, profits dropped, and PayTV seemed to have come to an end.
In 1997 Jeffrey Bewkes became the new CEO of HBO. He changed the business model and reinvented serials. He updated the serial story telling tradition and opened the creative space for the novel of the twenty-first century: Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, The Wire, Orange is the new Black, etc. These new TV series are character-driven and story-oriented. Just like the great novels of the ninetieth century, the new TV series focus on everyday people and social conditions. A drug-dealing teacher, a mobster in psychotherapy, corner boys in the inner city, and housewives in suburbia are all featured as protagonists. At the same time in network TV, the law-and-order-driven narrative of cop shows like those by Jerry Bruckheimer productions feature the state authority as protagonist.
Today, technology has changed the market again. Notably young audience members watch programs online on their computers and pads. Pay TV is rapidly losing subscribers. To refinance, they increase the fees and lose more subscribers. DVD sales and international licensing does not generate enough income to recoup the costs of producing high quality TV series. TV has become more and more expensive, and will potentially be unaffordable in the future.
And yet, further production may still make sense. On youtube alone, every minute, 24 hours of video material is uploaded, the equivalent of 150,000 feature films a week. In the digital world, it is impossible to see or even know of everything available. In the twentieth century, mass media addressed a mass audience. Today, mass media have to win each and every audience member. Branding is therefore the key to success. The more known a brand is, the higher its visibility. Old media moguls like TV networks and cable channels compete with the new players like Amazon, Hulu, Mubi und Netflix. In order to find a prominent niche in the new market, high quality TV series could be a key factor to secure TV’s digital survival.
Having first been tied to print media, then to network TV and Pay TV, serial storytelling now merges with the Internet and will reinvent itself again. Using digital platforms, the audience member–the viewer–has now become a user. Gone are the days when the TV audience ordered their daily routine around a TV program. If in the Nineteenth century, psychological investigations of characters in a novel were written on paper; and In the Twentieth century, the change & growth matrix of dramatic storytelling found its data carrier in celluloid; then In the Twenty-first century, digital games have become what may be a defining medium in the Internet. On the Internet, serial storytelling is challenged by the possibilities of interactivity and encounters a genuinely new digital storycreature.
Pong, Bio Shock and ARGs
In his book The Histories, Herodotus describes the story of Lydia, a kingdom in Asia Minor some three thousand years ago, where a great scarcity threatened the commonwealth. To mitigate the hunger and to control distribution of goods reasonably, king Atys decided that his people should eat one day, and play games on the other. Hence, eating happened only every other day, while playing was meant to distract from famine on the fasting day. The Lydians did as told for eighteen years. They invented ball games, knuckle fights, and dice. After eighteen years, king Atys realized that this procedure could not go on and subdivided his people in two groups. One group stayed with him in Lydia, the other one was forced to leave under the leadership of his son Tyrsenos. According to the legend, they settled in what is today Tuscany and founded the Etruscan culture.
From early on, gaming seemed to have an escapist function, to distract the player from reality. At the same time, it provided meaning, group identification, and learning by belonging for adults and children alike. Through play one learns to understand the world, and through play new ideas were created. At times humanization itself has been attached to play, defining the homo sapiens as homo ludens, a playing primate. The legend of Lydia is interesting too, because it is a common reference made by game designers. Herodot’s myth promotes play as a survival strategy, thus overthrows criticism of idle gaming as a waste of time. Here, gaming is seen as an integral part of human behavior that secures our future and raises the question of what is a game and what is its function.
The question of what defines a game is a subject of controversy. The “ludology (game) vs. narratology (play)” debates in games studies refer to two schools that are diametrically opposed. The narratological view is that games should be understood as novel forms of narrative and can thus be studied using theories of narrative. Ludologists have proposed that the focus of game studies should be on the rules of a game and should be analyzed as a formal system. Both aspects are viable. Yet the question is rather what do we want games to be. Should they be more playful?
”The opposite of play is not what is serious,“ says Freud in his writing Creative Writers and Daydreaming, “but what is real.” Psychologist Brian Sutton Smith contends that every game simulates the fight for survival. The dialectic relationship between the virtual and real world derives from storytelling elements. The narrative constitutes the mimetic “let’s pretend” set-up that connects story and play. The word play means both theatrical representation, and games, performed by kids or adults alike. The etymology of play refers to the old English plegan, plegian, meaning “move rapidly, perform music.” Similarly, the German word for play, Spiel, derives from the medieval Spil that described dance moves. According to Nietzsche’s famous investigation, the tragic-narrative finds its origin in music. Dancers and singers performed drama in antiquity. Thus playing and storytelling could be perceived as expression of a same basic human need of mirroring and projecting the world. Both, game and theatrical representation are simulation. Simple games like ball games, board games, card games, or Pong take place in a virtual reality.
The videogame Pong, published in 1972 by Atari, is not the first digital game, but the first commercially successful mass product and the beginning of the games industry. Pong is a kind of Ping Pong play, with primitive graphics. It does not contain storytelling elements. Why do people enjoy overcoming pointless obstacles? It is satisfying to win, especially after improving skills through practice. Becoming better and being awarded makes one happy. That is the simple premise of a game. Here the mimetic carrier is an object: pong.
In a storytelling game like in Bioshock Infinite, currently one of the best selling game series, humans imitate humans. BioShock 1 and 2 take place in the underwater world Rapture, part 3 in the flying city Columbia. The game is a full serial narrative. The game is a serial story with historical references, complex storylines and characters. Just like in Lydia, it explicitly addresses survival strategies.
Today, most computer games that are not simple apps combine play and storytelling, and in so doing, supersede linear narratives in cinema and TV as the opinion-forming medium in the pop cultural discourse. Movies like Transformers 1-4, Iron Man 1-3, and Avatar borrow heavily from games. In cinema today, the one-hero dramatic paradigm that ruled screenwriting wisdom over decades is being challenged by ensemble stories and multi linear structures like tandem narratives, parallel narratives, and flashback narratives, all of which combine several storylines and story times. Remarkable too is the increasing presence of serials in cinema and games. Movies come more often in sequels, and so do games. Multiplatform and transmedia-produced content also accompanies TV productions. In TV series, social media content, apps, and participatory elements form a interdependent narrative nexus. A sidekick character developed in a webisode eventually becomes a lead in the TV prime time series. A facebook comment by an audience member influences the writing of the next episode.
Games that play with identity or multiple identities like avatars and other invented I-constructions influence our imagination and thus storytelling.
Three-dimensional story architectures come into being through collaboration with the user. Gamers in that sense are not only users, but authors. Unlike in TV or cinema, where the libidinous drive is mostly set off by voyeurism, in games, drive oppression meets exhibitionism. For the audience member, Tony Soprano is an escapist fantasy; in games the user enters the world himself. The gamer is the protagonist, and makes an ecstatic experience that challenges established concepts of the body-mind-dichotomy, i.e. the relationship between consciousness and being and the question whether psyche, body, and logos can be separated at all. In augmented reality applications, the virtual and real world merge to become a new spatiality. Leaving the body behind in reality, postmodern man becomes logos only, but not in rationality like modern man would have aspired to, but in an ecstatic state in a new parallel outsourced universe. Such a universe could be compared with the medieval concept of paradise: a garden labyrinth where men are naked, innocent, and immortal. The nakedness refers to the absence of the super ego, the absence of the symbolic order; no need to hide, to wear a mask, and to submit to ‘culture’, everyone can be what he or she is.
The world of games works in a similar way. Games are powerful, because they offer meaning, belonging and satisfaction. Reality on the other hand is not something designed to make us happy. In the digital age, humans are encouraged to unhitch reality like a heavy old wagon, and build a new social order in a parallel world. Here too the analogy of medieval paradise applies. All suffering in this mortal world is bearable only because eternal happiness is waiting in the sweet hereafter. Feudal rulers managed to exploit generations of devout serfs for centuries by employing this narrative, and similarly in consumer capitalism today, technology can distract us from the fact that in reality, the environment is being destroyed and social mobility is less likely now than it was in 1850.
Game designer Jane McGonigal suggests that since reality is broken, a mass exodus to game space is on its way. But instead of demonizing gaming as escapism, she suggests retransferring the mechanics of games to reality, and that will make the real world a better place. Schools for example, should not only use games, but become a game. This idea is already a reality. The New York City Charter School is one such play-school. It is well-sponsored by the McArthur Foundation and the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, helmed by game industry veteran Katie Salen, and has more than 50,000 students on its waiting list. The curriculum features Quest to Learn, an alternate reality game (ARG) that replaces class schedule. In ARG’s, learning, as in every good game, must always be optional. McGonigal defines ARG’s as anti-escapist games. Alternate reality games are understood as one strategy to use serial narrative games to bring the increasing number of gamers back to the real world.
ARG’s could be seen as a simulation mechanism of world description and improvement, a utopian machine, a world lab. In this scenario new forms of collaborative narratives come into being. Massive multiplayer collaboration projects (MMORPGs) for example, are internet-based role games in which thousand of gamers inhabit a virtual world. Little Big Planet (LBP) is currently one of the most successful collaborative games. More than 1.3 million users build in the so–called popit their own society, with landscapes, buildings, unique technologies, and summer specials that have to be purchased with money from the real world.
The twentieth century stormed feverishly into the future. It couldn’t wait to finally live in a utopian society in the real world. The twenty-first century seems to expect nothing from a future reality, instead shifting its metaphysical yearnings to the virtual world. In spite of every attempt to unite virtual and real world, the search for meaning remains unsolved.
The gamer pursues his goal with undivided attention but with no strong motivation. It doesn’t really mean anything to him. Like in Zen, the way is the purpose, strong attachments lead to upset, and drama and should be avoided. Even in alternate reality games, fulfilling the mission doesn’t have a deeper meaning. Students on a secret quest to find a hidden math book, collaborating via twitter and text message, may have fun and strive to break a secret math code in order to get to next level. The thinking process and work flow is entirely solution based, not problem-based. The students do not care about why they break the math code, as long as they break it and get the award. A player wants to make it. The game has no other meaning other than a winning. Yet if critical thinking is not implemented in the games matrix, the gamer has no means to analyze and evaluate the outcome. In ARG’s he might change reality but doesn’t understand how and why. In fact, the how and why of reality altered through gaming is entirely in the hands of the game designer and industry. Only if the gamer finds himself as a motivated story character in an analytical fable and ask why do I need to break the math code, will the user-based narrative meet and potentially heal the collective neuroses of our time.
In the tragic serial narrative, the audience member identifies with the protagonist because he is empathetic. Yet empathy plays no role in games. A gamer doesn’t feel anything when beheading the enemy. The exhibitionist potential of the avatar is far from exhausted. Gamers might experience dystopian doldrums, but they game without a cathartic healing. At this point, storytelling in games is driven by technology and play. Yet as long as games lack empathy-informed storytelling, they remain a sociopathic apparatus. Only games that include the qualities of serial horizontal storytelling, could become a wonder box and impact the real world.
Plato gives in his Protagoras 9-16 a fitting description of humanization. In the beginning, Prometheus had given man rationality and fire only, because all other attributes were already distributed in the animal world. Thus, man formed societies, but since they lacked shame and empathy, they killed each other. Finally Zeus pitied them and provided the missing virtues. In a similar way, one could look at digital game creatures. They have rationality and fire, but no shame and empathy. Empathy and shame have been given by Zeus, they are part of the tragic narratives.
In game design one speaks of epic scales, when a gamer is attached to missions in human planetary-scale stories. Games of such a kind offer a specific emotional experience, in game design called: awe. In his book Born to be Good, psychologist Dacher Keltner writes:
“The experience of awe is about finding your place in the larger scheme of things. It is about quieting the press of self-interest. It is about folding into social collectives. It is about feeling reverential toward participating in some expansive process that unites us all and that ennobles our life’s endeavors.”
The description of awe in game design remind us of Freud’s remarks on the “oceanic feeling“, a sensation of an indissoluble bond, of being connected with the external world in its integral form. Freud disavowed the feeling as a preserved “primitive ego-feeling” from infancy. Awe in that sense is a sensation of infantile helplessness, when mother’s breast is taken away. It distracts from reality, it is another ecstatic but not empathetic sensation.
For Jane McGonigal the legend of the Lydians served as evidence for her theory of games as means of collaboration and creativity. She contends that those eighteen years of play formed the base of Etruscan culture, one could then conclude that the birth of the chimera of Arezzo was born from the spirit of soccer games. Yet one could also wonder why the Lydians wasted eighteen years with gaming instead of questioning their economy. Atys was the son of legendary rich Croesus, and under his regency, Lydians were world famous for their luxurious life style and savoir vivre. It seems reasonable to wonder if redistribution of the wealth would have prevented people from starving. Instead of participation, they got dice.
Current narrative extensions in games serve King Atys. Epic awe satisfies regressive care and flight fantasies and prevents the gamer from thinking critically. Ultimately the user is going in circles, tricked by fake decisions. The tragic dimension that could come in with user-based serial storytelling is subverted by happiness hacks. If horizontal story telling and interactive games were merged, in a narrative like The Wire, the audience member would no longer be limited to passively witnessing genocide and racism. The user would be empowered to end the racist genocide. In African-American neighborhoods, drugs would disappear. Schools, instead of prisons, would be financed. The user would experience the story as an individual; he would have a specific experience and change the fable through his subjectivity. Not only receiving, the user would bring his narrative needs into the story world, changing the story by using it. Freud describes such a phenomenon as afterwardness. A memory is repressed which has only become a trauma after the event. Eventually it finds a new path when returning to present time, but never in the same way as experienced before. The narrative identity is always temporary. Constantly we are rewriting the story of our life.
A form of serial story that gives meaning to events after the fact or reinterprets memories in a practice of afterwardness by every user, thereby renewing the interpretation again and again, even updating the experience, could be the future medium to collaboratively build the utopian future that went missing in the terrors of the twentieth century. Serial storytelling would then not only be confined to play the next episode, but would create the next episode – while playing it.
Notes The Sopranos, Season 6, Episode 15.
 http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/research/projects/how-much-info-2003/ accessed June30,2013.
 See in detail Russell West-Pavlov, Temporalities, Routledge, 2012.
 Created by David Chase, HBO, 1999-2007.
 Created by Neal Marlens and others, multi-camera sitcom, ABC, 1994-1998.
 The crystal meth cooking teacher in Breaking Bad, created by Vince Gilligan, AMC, 2008 – 2013.
 CSI Day-Shift Supervisor character Horatio Cane played by actor David Caruso in CBS Series CSI Miami, Jerry Bruckheimer Productions.
 The German word “Unterhaltung,” as in French “entretenir” and in English “entertainment,” in the strictest sense refers to maintaining another’s livelihood, to paying a salary, originally also “provision for support of a retainer; manner of social behavior”. The servant serves and in return is entertained by his master.
 Created by David Simon, HBO, 2002 – 2008.
 Employing the terminology that Hegel proposed in his definition of tragedy in his Aesthetics (1820–29)
 Like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Without a Trace, Cold Case.
 By Glenn Chapman (AFP) – May 16, 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jK4sI9GfUTCKAkVGhDzpJ1ACZm9Q.
 „All games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation.”
 Herodot I:94.
 Planet Atys for example is not only a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), but also a living, virtual world.
 Brian Sutton Smith, The Ambiguity of Play (1997, Harvard University Press)
 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of tragedy from the Spirit of Music, 1872
 Created by Allan Alcorn, 2 players, Atari, Arcade system, November 29, 1972.
 Created by Ken Levine., 2K games, single player, March 26, 2013
 In detail: Linda Aronson, The 21st-Century Screenplay: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Tomorrow’s Films, Silman-James Pr (11. Februar 2011).
 In 2013 only, new movie releases showcased: Fast & Furious 6, Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, A good Day to Die Hard, Grown Ups 2, The Hangover Part III, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Kick Ass 2, The Hobbit, Before Midnight, Red 2, The Smurfs 2 and more.
 ibid. pg.125
 Sony Computer Entertainment, PS3, PSP, PS Vita, since 11/5/2008
 Exploring solution-based design thinking in detail: Nigel Cross, Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work, Berg Publishers, 2011.
 Jane McGonigal ibid pg. 98 -99.
 Dacher Keltner, Born to be Good, W. W. Norton & Company, 2009, pg.268.
 See Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its discontents.
 Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Jonathan Cape Publishing, 2011, S.350
 Jane McGonigal, ibid: FIX #10: HAPPINESS HACKS Compared with games, reality is hard to swallow. Games make it easier to take good advice and try out happier habits.