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Author Topic: The Uneasy Merging of Narrative and Gameplay  (Read 7073 times)

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« on: January 29, 2010, 06:20:23 AM »

I just read an interesting article on Gamasutra: The Uneasy Merging of Narrative and Gameplay.

In particular it talks about the limitations of combining gameplay and narrative, and it's interesting because I think we can get around a lot of these by just dropping the "gameplay" part of it while still using an interactive format.

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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2010, 08:59:53 AM »

I liked the conversion and continuity examples. Show pretty nicely how some linear-media tricks does not work. It also makes it quite clear that the ,still way too common, buzz word "cinematic experience" is a dead end.

While speaking about flaws is nice, I did not see any suggestions on how to use the media though. But I guess that is our job kinda Tongue
God at play

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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2010, 10:12:56 AM »

Nice find axcho.  And I liked your comment on there, Thomas.

I added my own.  Here's an excerpt:

That seemingly minor detail is actually pivotal to my next point, which is that the game part of videogames isn't really unique to videogames at all.  Some game genres are more unique than others, but think about how you can prototype so many videogames on paper first.  That's pretty telling I think.  Technically, there's nothing unique to videogames.  The fact that they borrow from other media is part of the problem.  And because of that, you could argue that in order to create the most unique experience for a virtual, fictional interactive system, you'd want to use less of a game-like structure, as Thomas Grip points out.

This mindset is exactly the one great directors have when trying to create a unique experience on film through editing techniques.  They want to use precisely the unique properties of their medium, and to do that in a way that conveys a meaningful message.

And I concluded most gracefully:

In conclusion:
"make love, notgames." ^_^

« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 10:59:18 AM by God at play » Logged

Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2010, 06:33:34 PM »

It's kind of bizarre that the writer uses the boxing scene as an example at the end of the text. First of all, he's cheating because violent interaction between two characters is super-common in games (and not in movies at all). But more importantly, he forgets that in the movie, this boxing match is not just about a battle to be lost or won. I haven't seen the film, but I can imagine that this fight is a highly symbolic one in which the narrative growth of the character that happened before finds a sort of culmination. Whether this character wins or loses the match is not important and depends entirely on the story that the author wants to tell. In a game this would just be about two guys fighting and the one controlled by the player needs to win, otherwise it's "game over". There's a much bigger difference between this scene being part of a movie or of a game, than camera cuts and control issues!

I guess that the point is that, in a movie, this scene is chosen by an author to express part of a story. And in a game there was no choice because it wouldn't be a game without the fighting. So if we want narrative, we don't need to smear a layer of cinema over our games. We need to use the same kind of authorial control over what we produce. And that means that the story comes first and the format second. And that we adapt the latter to the former. And in many cases this means that you cannot make a game.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 06:40:22 PM by Michaël Samyn » Logged
Kaworu Nagisa

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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 01:19:59 AM »

I have stopped reading after 2nd sentence (as I can hardly imagine how magic of theatre is possible in games), I'm just a big ignoramus, gomene Smiley


I think we can get around a lot of these by just dropping the "gameplay" part of it while still using an interactive format.

That's nice Smiley Take away win/lose condition and score, and you are already in the different dimension. What is left in space of no winners and losers? What is to sport if no one competes? Pleasure of experience. A space for a message, plot, characters interaction, narrator, character-player interaction, narrator-player interaction, etc. Imagine an interactive piece where audience do exactly what creator has wanted them to do and it is not a player who decides of the outcome but an author.
I don't really think that it is so difficult. It simply requires different angle.
And once one will achieve this angle space for thinking of the box shall be born. Like a spectacle in which 5 out of 300 audience members are actors indeed and they suddenly begin to interact with the actors on the stage. That's it.

The world needs organization ^_^
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