In this part of “Don´t show, involve” we will follow Jenova Chen´s plotting of the online game “Journey” with the help of the thought-based method Narrative bridging. The article “The journey to create Journey – the quest for emotion”, which this hands-on plotting builds upon, can be found at Gamasutra. If you haven´t read the previous part of “Don´t show, involve”, it can be found here, and for further information about Narrative bridging and its theoretic background, you can go here.
I´m pretty sure you´ve heard the phrase, “Show, don´t tell” as a piece of advice when constructing narratives in film. The origin is said to come from the Russian writer Anton Chekhov who thought writers used too many descriptions and adjectives and should leave the interpretation to the receiver. Today the phrase works as an advising technique for screenwriters to avoid having a character knocking at a door at the same time it says: “I´m knocking on the door to see if my friend is at home”.
Narrative bridging is a thought-based method developed in 2010 to support the design process to organize, monitor, and control the generation of information (narrative) to create a meaningful interaction.
What differs our thinking from animals is that we can create meanings based on beliefs, desires, and dreams. What it means in practice is that we can have a dream about an adventure and start building a boat and create a meaning that motivates our actions. We can also stand on a carpet and pretend it´s a boat and share the experience with others by creating a meaning that makes others join in. But due to the conflicting currents between the church and science during the Enlightenment everything relating to our ability to imagine was put aside in order to study nature. In this way our creation of meaning based on beliefs, desires and dreams, together with stories that were seen as a carrier of fantasies and illusions, and where the narrative became the scapegoat to all creations that didn´t correspond to reality, were bundle off away from science and labelled with the sign saying “disbelief”.
Have you ever wondered how surprises relate to our emotions beyond physical reactions and the horror genre? Would you like to know how a narrative constructor thinks in the creation of curiosity, surprises and suspense and how the cognitive vehicle of narrative works?
In an interview for a position as a narrative director, I was asked what I would do if there were conflicts in the team about individual preferences. I could tell by their looks that they didn’t believe me when I replied that there are no conflicts where I work. To explain what I meant, I´d like to straighten out the concept of conflicts.
For a number of years ago, I lived in a rainforest until one day I couldn’t stand not being able to see the horizon and the only thing I was staring at was my skin looking for leeches that appeared from nowhere looking like a stroke of a pen on the skin. If not being attentive to the thin black line and remove it quickly, it wouldn’t take long before you found a lump, big as a plum, attached to the skin that had to be unscrewed. The only thing I felt sorry about by leaving was to miss the yearly event when people from the distant and widely spread cattle stations gathered in the village to find a life companion. It was the biggest event of expectations I had ever experienced until E3 turned up.
In two earlier posts, I told about two ardent filmmakers, Ed Wood and Georges Méliesè, who both seized accidents when making their films. Both films brought them fame but in two completely different ways: Wood for the worse film ever made and Méliesè for his innovation of visual and special effects.
To end up fighting for children´s rights was an awakening since I had resided as a good dog within the bubble of entertainment believing that a meaningful experience was directed towards something positive and where my wheeling of the narrative vehicle differed from the opposite which could be seen in the absence of a reciprocally shared goal were expectations by a “we”, based on preconceptions, considered to know what was best for others. Continue reading