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
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
http://bst.sagepub.com/content/32/5/393.short Jim Bizzocchi and Joshua Tanenbaum
Abstract. Digital games have matured substantially as a narrative medium in the last decade. However, there is still much work to be done to more fully understand the poetics of story-based-games. Game narrative remains an important issue with significant cultural, economic and scholarly implications. In this article, we undertake a critical analysis of the design of narrative within Mass Effect 2: a game whose narrative is highly regarded in both scholarly and vernacular communities. We follow the classic humanities methodology of “close-reading”: the detailed observation, deconstruction, and analysis of a text. Our close-reading employs a critical framework from our previous work to isolate and highlight the central narrative design parameters within digital games. This framework is grounded in the scholarly discourse around games and narrative, and has been tested and revised in the process of close-reading and analyzing contemporary games. The narrative design parameters we examine are character, storyworld, narrativized interface, emotion, and plot coherence. Our analysis uses these parameters to explicate a series of design decisions for the effective creation of narrative experience in Mass Effect 2, and by extension, for game narratives in general. We also expand our previous methodology through a focused “edge-case” strategy for exploring the limits of character, action, and story in the game. Finally, we position our analysis of Mass Effect 2 within contemporary discourses of “bounded agency”, and explore how the game negotiates the tension between player-expression, and narrative inevitability to create opportunities for sophisticated narrative poetics including tragedy and sacrifice.
Alex Cope published an interesting blog post on the narrative structures in The Last of Us. He writes: “By limiting what the player can do and see, it allows for a focus on the smaller details of its locales. Instead of roaming through the streets of a large city, exploring in The Last of Us takes place on a more personal level; for example, looking through the contents of a master bedroom in an abandoned home”.
Read the full post at http://gamesandimpact.org/news/blog/the-storytelling-series-narrative-mechanics-in-the-last-of-us/
Thanks to Hartmut Koenitz for sharing this in the first place.
“The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is unlike many other first-person adventure games you might have played. There’s no violence or combat, but rather, the story unfolds as the player explores the various environments, and discovers how certain bits and pieces work alongside other puzzles”. Its author Adrian Chmielarz says:”[The virtual world] allows the players to feel both as voyeurs and guilt-free intruders, and also forces them to build mental models of both the environment and the action. All of that results in the deeper sense of presence in the world, helping the trinity of presence, immersion and engagement.”
Read the full article here
Thanks to Ivan Girina for sharing
MA Thesis “The Cross-Media Journey of Muddle Earth: Design, Narrative and Brand Consistency in Game Adaptation”, by Claudio Franco, University of London
Abstract: A study of game production in the context of cross-media strategies, it follows the adaptation journey of the Muddle Earth IP from a book, into a TV series, and finally into a game.
Free download at: http://transmediabooks.wordpress.com/ma-thesis-the-cross-media-journey-of-muddle-earth/