Game and Storytelling Fundamentals

  • Nonlinear Narrative in Games: Theory and Practice

    by Ben McIntosh, Randi Cohn and Lindsay Grace
    When it comes to writing for video games, there are a few decisions that need to be made before you even begin brainstorming about plot points, characters, or dialogue. Even if the genre and style has been determined, there is a bigger question about the story that must be answered: Will this be a linear or nonlinear narrative?
    If you are a game enthusiast, you are probably already aware of the exciting complexities, depth, and robustness of nonlinear stories. However, if you have ever attempted to write a nonlinear story, you may have encountered several infuriating problems that are typical when trying to present the player with multiple options. This article will take a look at some of these issues as well as offer some thoughts on how to work through them. Why is nonlinear writing important to know? Because as more schools offer degrees in game design, the competition is greater than ever. In a world where some video games are outselling big budget movies, you have to put as many stunning bullet points on your curriculum vitae as you can to stand out from the crowd.

  • Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Video Games
    by Richard Dansky / Brad KaneWhat is game narrative? It’s a question that developers, writers, reviewers, and publishers have been trying to answer for years with only limited success. Like many other things in this still-young industry, narrative is an area where definitions are still being stretched, formulated, and tried on for size. It is crucial, however, to formalize a definition of game narrative before attempting to create one. Otherwise, you’re trying to hit a moving target with an entire development team waiting for you to make the perfect shot, with a limited chance of success.
  • Understanding Game Type and Game Genre
    by Lindsay Grace
    Although sometimes used interchangeably in the industry, there is a distinct difference between game type and game genre in video games. When discussing game story, we distinguish game type as a description of game play, and game genre as a description of the narrative content of the game.
  • Active Storytelling in Games
    by Rafael ChandlerI’ve been doing a lot of reading about storytelling in games, about compelling narrative. However, I find myself wondering if this is really the correct vocabulary for the next stage of video game development. Is it worthwhile to tell a story with a game? Can it even be done? Ultimately, I believe the point may be completely moot, because games are interactive, not passive.
  • Sam Lake on Video Games
    by Andrey Summers

    What makes for a great story in a video game?
    Sometimes, with all the innovative development and cool graphics the actual story a game has to tell can get lost in the shuffle, or at least can seem to be an afterthought. When a game arrives on the shelves that presents one of the more engrossing stories we’ve seen in awhile, it’s worth noting. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne has been recognized by many people with their heads screwed on straight as a benchmark in video-game storytelling. The 2003 sequel to the legendary Max Payne, this game exhibited a narrative depth that many contemporary offerings tend to lack.

  • Everything is Possible: Inside the Minds of Gaming’s Master Storytellers
    by Greg Kasavin
    You don’t need games. As much as they may seem like an integral part of your everyday life or even your thought process at this point, you could give them up if you really had to. And no matter how addicted you may be to the games you play, you’d have to admit that games are intended to be entertainment. They’re just for fun.
  • Game Plot and Characters

    Game Format and How To:

    Editorial & Interview

    Academic Papers

    Controversy