Storytelling
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Storytelling. academic colonization.

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Storytelling

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Storytelling

Storytelling


Storytelling

academic colonization

“Outside academic theory people are usually excellent at making distinctions between narrative, drama and games. If I throw a ball at you I don't expect you to drop it and wait until it starts telling stories. On the other hand, if and when games and especially computer games are studied and theorized they are almost without exception colonised from the fields of literary, theatre, drama and film studies. Games are seen as interactive narratives, procedural stories or remediated cinema”

(Eskelinen, 2001, n.1 www.gamestudies.org)


Games vs narratives

games vs narratives?

  • The player can tell stories of a game session.

  • Many computer games contain narrative elements, and in many cases the player may play to see a cut-scene or realise a narrative sequence.

  • Games and narratives share some structural traits.

    BUT

  • Games and stories actually do not translate to each other in the way that novels and movies do.

  • There is an inherent conflict between the now of the interaction and the past or "prior" of the narrative. You can't have narration and interactivity at the same time; there is no such thing as a continuously interactive story.

  • The relations between reader/story and player/game are completely different - the player inhabits a twilight zone where he/she is both an empirical subject outside the game and undertakes a role inside the game.

(Juul, 2001, n.1 www.gamestudies.org)


But aren t all these experiences literary

but... aren’t all these experiences literary?


All coterie members are dead press esc to load saved game

all coterie members are dead, press ESC to load saved game

“Our fixation on electronic games and stories is in part an enactment of a denial of death. They offer us a chance to erase memory, to start over, to replay an event and try for a different resolution. In this respect, electronic media have the advantage of enacting a deeply comic vision of retrievable mistakes and open options.”

(Janet Murray)

“The charm of a text is that it forces you to face destiny”

(Eco)

catharsis is impossible


From the design point of view

from the design point of view...

Meanwhile


Designer s story versus player s story rouse

Designer’s story versus player’s story (Rouse)

makes sense?


Storytelling is not only about linearity

Storytelling is not only about linearity

Storytelling is not opposed to interaction


Story

story

A person has a problem ⃗ tries to understand it ⃗ makes a choice (usually difficult) that changes understading and resolves the difficulty.

narrative

Essential:What? (Plot) Who? (Character) Why? (Causality)

Optional: Where? (Descriptions) When? (Temporality)

Emotional release


Storytelling

Narrative:What? (Plot) Who? (Character) Why? (Causality)

  • plots?

  • characters?

  • causality?

do games have...


Storytelling

Essential:What? (Plot) Who? (Character) Why? (Causality)

  • Quest

  • Adventure

  • Pursuit

  • Rescue

  • Escape

  • Revenge

  • The Riddle

  • Rivalry

  • Underdog

  • Temptation

  • Metamorphosis

  • Transformation

  • Maturation

  • Love

  • Forbidden Love

  • Sacrifice

  • Discovery

  • Wretched Excess

  • Ascension

  • Descension

The 20 master plots of all time, by Ronald B. Tobias


Adventure games

Adventure games

  • Playing for the plot

    It is not the same to read about a detective´s work than to play the detective´s role, in a way to be the detective. Most adventure games cast the player in a detective´s role under various guises: the detective of Deadline, the mistery-writer "Shattenjäger" of the Gabriel Knight series, the curious traveller of Myst, the journalist of The11th Hour... Something has happened (usually a crime, assault, disappearance or any mysterious deed the programmers can think of), and the player must investigate in order to learn what. She must look for a plot behind the apparently meaningless terrible acts in order to reconstruct the story from clues that she finds at the crime scenes and the interviewing of the non-playing characters. The main character/player usually has a motivation: to find a lost girlfriend, to free somebody, to write a book, etc.

genre fiction


Characteristics

characteristics

  • Explore the world

  • Objects

  • Puzzles

  • Dialogues

Jonas Heide Smith


Antidotes

antidotes

  • Deistic narration

  • Better Ais (characters + actions)

  • Multilinearity (beyond myst), more branching

  • Narrative decision points at key moments


Storytelling

Essential:What? (Plot) Who? (Character) Why? (Causality)

  • Simple world interaction: move, talk, inventory...

  • Simple battle (you are attacked, you respond)

  • QUESTS: Goal + obstacles = resolution

  • -Simple exchange (NPC asks to obtain item...)

  • Breach of contract (same but reward is withdrawn)


Storytelling

Essential:What? (Plot) Who? (Character) Why? (Causality)

Narrative mode:

Reader constructs scenarios imaginarily.

“The characters in a film, book or play are the people that the film, book, or play is about.”

Collins English Dictionary

Dramatic mode:

Viewer watches unfolding scenarios.


You are

you are...

“You are Blade Runner Ray McCoy, engaged in an adventure uniquely your own. But what you don’t know each time you play is whether you --or anyone else-- is human or replicant.”

Westwood’s Blade Runner official website

overdetermination

Illusion of control


Characters in games

characters in games...

- are part of a frame narrative (Half Life)

- are “the goal” of the game (any RPG)

- “live” a story (adventure games)

LEVELS OF NARRATIVE DETERMINATION

player

RPGs

character


We construct characters

we construct characters...

  • through description

  • through their actions

    • symbolic

    • naturalistic

    • relationship to reality

  • through relationship to space

  • through other characters’ view

  • through a name


Storytelling

“Optional”:Where? (Descriptions) When? (Temporality)

  • Scenery (Gerrold) / Look and feel (Rollings, Morris)

  • World: Physically/Geography/Nature

  • World: Philosophy/Basic idea for existence

  • World history

  • World sociology & economy

  • World rules (program)

  • Why would player want to be/play in that world? What makes it particularly compelling?


Storytelling

“Optional”:Where? (Descriptions) When? (Temporality)

Jesper Juul, 2001.


Readings for next session

Readings for next session

  • Muramatsu, Jack. “Computing, Social Activity, and Entertainment: A Field Study of a Game MUD” (http://www.ics.uci.edu/~ackerman/pub/98a6/illusion.cscw-j.970827.html)

  • Baron, Jonathan. “Glory and Shame: Powerful Psychology in Multiplayer Online Games”(http://www.gamasutra.com/features/19991110/Baron_01.htm)

  • Yee, Nicholas. “The Norrathian Scrolls”. (http://www.nickyee.com/eqt/report.html) Just for browsing


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