Video Games & the Power of Narrative (thehumbleoscar & ironreaver)

Picucci, Marcello A. “When Video Games Tell Stories: A Model of Video Game Narrative Architectures.” Caracteres: Estudios Culturales Y Criticos de la Esfera Digital 3.2 (2014): 99-116.

In this article, Picucci analyzes the importance of narrative in video games and the various forms that narrative takes and has tkaen throughout video game history. He discusses that video games have had hints of narrative since their earliest days, usually taking forms that were fairly simple and direct. For example, he references Nintendo’s 1981 arcade classic, Donkey Kong, in which the main protagonist is seen stealing the princess, thus prompting the hero to begin a mission to rescue her. He then goes on to discuss the various forms that narratives are presented in modern video games. These are pre-established, disccovery, sandbox, and computer generated. He continues on by defining each of these forms and providing examples of them in various video games.

Cuddy, Luke, and William Irwin. “BioShock’s Meta Narrative: What BioShock Teaches the Gamer About Gaming.” BioShock and Philosophy: Irrational Game, Rational Book. Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2015. 3-14.

In this chapter, Cuddy explores how video game narratives, and in this case specifically, the narrative presented in BioShock, affect and enrapture players. He discusses the intense psychological reactions that games can cause in players and references both one of the main turning points in the story of BioShock and the act of harvesting little sisters as examples. He then goes on to discuss what methods the developers used to make these things so visceral, from the loss of control the player experiences to the violent nature presented. Finally, he discusses the illusion of choice that is presented to players in video games, and then compares this to how BioShock gets around this somewhat by offering multiple endings that are affected by the choices the player makes throughout the game.

Schneider, Edward F. “Death with a Story.” 10 Jan. 2006

In this article, Schneider goes into the effects narrative heavy and non narrative first person shooters have on gamers. He looks into this issue to try to bring more information to the violent games/violent people debate. In his paper Schneider finds that first person shooters that have no narrative (such as Doom and Quake) have little effect on people and they merely see the games as a simple shoot things that move endeavor. First person shooters with narrative, however, pull gamers in, make them rationalize with characters, puts the violence into context, and actually makes them feel and be aware of the violence. This in turn, Schneider states, does create a situation where a gamer may be more susceptible to violent tendencies because they’ve actually immersed themselves in such situations in their games and must rationalize/have it rationalized for them. It’s a very interesting look into the power that stories and narrative have in gaming.

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