ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the experience of romantic love between a player and a non-playable character (NPC) in the context of single-player avatarial games. Romantic love is to be understood here as the experience of being in love with someone. As such, it is demarcated from other types of love (e.g., love for friends, family members, divine love, etc.). In the chapter, it is argued that for a game to successfully afford the experience of romantic love there are two main challenges that need to be addressed. One is the embodiment of the NPCs and the other is their intentionality. This means that the game should provide for NPCs that are to be perceived by the player as autonomous subjects with their own intentions and goals rather than passive bodies that cater to the player’s agency. The argument is built upon embodied perception, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, and Sartre’s existentialism. It is finally argued that this challenge will eventually be overcome by artificially generated agents rather than fictional, designed characters.