Connie Veugen’s PhD Thesis (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) explores how games tell stories and how this differs from narratives in books and films. http://www.veugen.net/dd/
David Jackson published an interview to indie designer Jason Rohrer: “With art games in general the idea was really about coming up with something that I wanted to explore that couldn’t be put into words, because if it could be put into words I would just go ahead and write it or say it. Something that seemed like it could be expressed well through interactive game mechanics directly and then crafting mechanics that would express what I was trying to express through the systems I was building”.
Read the full interview at http://playablestories.org.uk/part-1-of-my-interview-with-jason-rohrer/
Ice-bound is an upcoming narrative experience combining a printed book with an iPad app. Telling a multi-layered story about a polar base sinking into the ice, a famous author’s unfinished final novel, and a doubt-riddled artificial intelligence given an impossible task, the project uses procedural generation and augmented reality to help create a truly unique experience where story and gameplay melt into one another.
A collaboration between Aaron Reed and Jacob Garbe, two award-winning writers and game artists, and inspired by the fractal narratives of Borges, Danielewski, Calvino, and Nabokov, Ice-bound is expected to debut in early 2015.
The official website for Ice-Bound is http://www.ice-bound.com/
Aaron A. Reed has shown projects at IndieCade, IGF, and the Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemakers Festival. His 2009 interactive fiction Blue Lacuna was named one of the top ten text adventures of all time by the IFDB, and he served as lead writer for the ambitious AI-driven storygame Prom Week, which garnered both IndieCade and IGF nominations in 2012. His experimental narrative collage-maker 18 Cadence was a Kirkus”Best Book App” of 2013 and an IGF Nuovo Honorable Mention.
Jacob Garbe is a writer and new media artist working with augmented reality and procedural narrative. He was the recipient of the 2010 International Aeon Award for short fiction, and was recently featured as an electronic literature artist in the Pathfinders: 25 years of Experimental Literary Art exhibit at the Modern Language Association. He is currently working with Storybricks exploring dynamic text generation for the upcoming MMO Everquest Next.
Let’s Play a Story Together: Narrative Construction in a Board Game is an interesting thesis by Samu Lattu from the University of Helsinki.
He writes: “This study delves into the relationship between stories and games with a cognitive perspective. The subject of narrative in games in the past decade has overheated running in place. With this in mind a game medium previously untapped – board games – was chosen as the means of study and an approach to narrative untested in the context of games previously was chosen as the lenses of inquiry. The study considers what in board games gets players to interpret the flow of the game as narrative; how players pick and choose parts of the game experience and use them to construct a chain of events; how players picture a world and its inhabitants; how players experience the character they play; what is their relationship with the game world; what games tell us about the narrativity of games and whether a narrative tool or way of meaning is particular to games”.
Read the full thesis at http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2014053026064
“The Writer Will Do Something” is a Twine story by Matthew Burns in which you play as the lead writer for an upcoming AAA game. “The year is 2012. You are the lead writer for the third game in the wildly popular ShatterGate™ franchise. Expectations are through the roof: fans of the series are waiting for the biggest, most bad-ass entry in the series yet, and your publisher is expecting the best-selling title in its history. But the game’s development hasn’t gone as smoothly as planned. One morning, just a couple months before E3 and six months before ship, an emergency meeting is called…”
Play it at http://mrwasteland.itch.io/twwds
This is one of those books that I would have liked to write. Jennifer Grouling Cover, a student and colleague of the famous narratologist David Herman, analyzes the practices to create narratives in tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. I have read this book and it is actually quite valid – creating the bases for more advanced analyses.
From the book blurb: “This work explores tabletop role playing game (TRPG) as a genre separate from computer role playing games. The relationship of TRPGs to other games is examined, as well as the interaction among the tabletop module, computer game, and novel versions of Dungeons & Dragons. Given particular attention are the narrative and linguistic structures of the gaming session, and the ways that players and gamemasters work together to construct narratives. The text also explores wider cultural influences that surround tabletop gamers”.
Download it in ebook format at https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=xl7P7GwME3gC
“Her Story” is a video game where player listen to the interview of a woman whose husband has gone missing – and they are cast into the police researcher trying to piece the truth together. Game designer Sam Barlow says: “In most games, because the story is communicating your challenges, it’s a usability thing. Everything has to be on the surface: ‘Go here, kill this, do that’. This mechanic of searching the woman’s words kind of forces you to engage on a deeper level – it highlights those layers of meaning. The heart of any human story is subtext.”
Read the full article at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/27/her-story-computer-game-true-detective-meets-google
Conference paper: “The Role of Micronarrative in the Design and Experience of Digital Games”, Jim Bizzocchi, Michael Nixon, Steve DiPaola, Natalie Funk. DiGRA 2013 Conference.
Abstract: Designing robust narrative experience in games is a complex and demanding task. The need to balance authorial control with player interactivity necessitates structurally flexible storytelling tools. One such tool is the micronarrative – an internal unit of narrative progression and coherence. This paper explicates relationships between the size, form, and experience of narrative units within electronic games. It identifies three design properties that enhance the utility and effectiveness of micronarratives within game experience: micronarratives are hierarchical, modular, and accumulative. The analysis is based on close readings of two commercial game titles, NHL 12 (Electronic Arts Canada 2012) and Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal 2011).
“Ludological Storytelling and Unique Narrative Experiences in Silent Hill Downpour”, MA Thesis by B.A. Holmquest, examines the relationship of ludology and audience agency to the narrative structure of video games, specifically by examining the ludological narratives of the games in the Silent Hill series, with a focus on the most recent entry in the franchise, Silent Hill Downpour.
PDF available at http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1363456341
Dream Chamber is a narrative adventure game based on dream sequences, a plot device I plan to study soon. http://www.darkwavegames.com/dream-chamber/