The question of fidelity, which has long been at the center of adaptation studies, pertains to the problem of authorship. Who can be an author and adapt a text and who cannot? In order to understand the problem of fidelity, this thesis asks larger questions about the problems of authorship, examining how authorship is changing in new media. Audiences are taking an ever-increasing role in the creation and interpretation of the texts they receive: a phenomenon this thesis refers to as participatory authorship, or the active participation of audience members in the creation, expansion, and adaptation of another's creative work. In order to understand how audiences are creating texts, first the place of the player within video games is addressed. Due to the nature of the medium, players must become active co-creators of a video game. Drawing a parallel between video game players and performance, it is argued that players must simultaneously perform and author a text, illustrating the complex and multilayered nature of authorship in video games. In the second chapter the role of the fan is examined within the context of the My Little Pony fandom, Bronies. Like players, fans take an active role in the creation of the text and destabilize the traditional notion of authorship by partially controlling of a text from the original author. By examining the place of the player and the fan the traditional notion of authorship is destabilized, and the more open and collaborative model of participatory authorship is proposed.



College and Department

Humanities; Humanities, Classics, and Comparative Literature



Date Submitted


Document Type





adaptation, authorship, participatory culture, fans, video games