Category Archives: Narrative Design

Shark in the Water

A few years back, a friend of mine asked me to take a look at the AFI thesis film he was producing. The film, which I won’t name here, was visually striking and everything it had set out to be: a stark turn-of-the-century thriller/horror set against a Western pioneer backdrop. It centered around a girl […]

Bissell’s Extra Lives

A key step in the development of any art form is the parallel development of a viable school of criticism of that form. A sophisticated audience produces a connoisseurship that in turn establishes the standards by which new work can be judged. Video games, not to give ammunition to the Roger Ebert school, have yet […]

Killing the Flytrap

I was eight years old when I got my hands on a copy of Infocom’s Leather Goddesses of Phobos. I had no idea what it was.  Luckily, neither did my parents.  It must have seemed like harmless fun to them (“A text-based adventure? Interactive fiction? Just like a Choose Your Own Adventure—he loves those!”).  Had […]

The Moral Thing

I have a halo problem, and I don’t mean the kind with Master Chief. Any time I play a game with a morality system, I can’t help but be the nicest, cuddliest, trivial-problem-solvingest (it’s a word) protagonist of all time. I have tried several times to break from this terrible affliction. I have a Mass […]

Lights, Camera, Gameplay

Conventional wisdom marks 2010 as the year when video games finally conquered the silver screen, thanks to a pair of movies. Christopher Nolan’s Inception is arguably the first global smash to feature tutorial sections. Its use of worlds and levels managed to rile older viewers, and its ambiguous ending owes a great deal to the […]

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