Mapping Metroid: Narrative, Space, and Other M

L. Arnott
  • Games and Culture, April 2015, SAGE Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1177/1555412015580016

Mapping Metroid

What is it about?

"Mapping Metroid" explains why the 2010 video game "Metroid: Other M" was controversial. The article argues that "Other M" did not consistently balance gameplay constraints with the narrative agency of the player-character, Samus Aran. It focuses especially on the history of the "Metroid" series and its groundbreaking use of in-game maps.

Why is it important?

Studying how "Other M" creates meaning in virtual spaces, with its map-making and traditional narrative techniques from film and literature, helps design better games and understand how they fit in with aesthetic theories like postmodernism. Post-GamerGate, how female video game heroines are interpreted and how they relate to consumer reception remains important.


Dr. Luke Arnott (Author)
Western University

This started out in 2012 as an extension of the theory of "imperative storytelling" that I introduced in my article "Unraveling Braid: Puzzle Games and Storytelling in the Imperative Mood." It spent over three years in press at Games and Culture! Although there has been a new Metroid game ("Federation Force") released since this was first published online, it doesn't star Samus Aran – so at least for the purposes of "Mapping Metroid", it doesn't count!

The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Luke Arnott