Story vs. Game

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An interesting article on the relationship and differences between the concept of story and game.

2 Comments

scott said:

Interesting article. I'd like to think more about it, but something about his distinctions between story and game don't quite do it for me. For example, he suggests that the story end of the spectrum is defined by its linearity, and that game, on the other hand, requires a non-linearity that allows the player numerous options. But when you play a game, you experience it in a linear way -- you walk down the passage on the right, and then you climb down the ladder, and then you fight the troll, and then you run away, etc, etc. Sure, you know that something different could have happened if you took the tunnel on the left, but that's really not very different from watching, I don't know, "It's A Wonderful Life" and knowing that something different could have happened if Jimmy Stewart's uncle had just gone, "Oh wait a minute, I remember now! The money was in that newspaper I gave to old man Potter!" Another thought -- The writer of the article talks about artists "stuffing" emotion into a work of art. I'm not quite sure how that works, but I'd like to learn. For me it's more about trying to create the proper conditions to evoke a certain response in an audience. I don't know much about game design, but I'd imagine it would be a similar process. Storytellers and game designers both want the provide their audience with the chance to experience something. A final thought -- the difference between story and game might have more to do with the placement of the audience. A play works because the audience identifies with the characters and their struggles/issues/aspirations -- While sitting in their seats, the audience sees themselves in the story. The game player at the computer also sees himself/herself in the story, as Mario, or the pong paddle on the left, or whatever. The identification is slightly stronger in a game, because of the illusion that the player is controlling the figure on the screen. But in both cases, the real story is what's going on in the audience, not on the stage or on the screen.... Maybe. I need to think more about this. Interesting article.

dan said:

I guess every work is to some extent a collaboration between the author and the audience. I think it's worth noting that storytelling used to be primarily an oral tradition, which never occurs exactly the same way twice, and is always impacted by the audience. Written stories may be presented with the same events in the same order every time, but I know from personal experience that I get something different from a story every time I read it.

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This page contains a single entry by dan published on August 20, 2003 12:42 PM.

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