Part 3, Putting into play – On narrative from a cognitive perspective II

Continuation of Part 2, Putting into play

Realising that our restraint to embrace the cognition-based method, Narrative bridging (Boman, Gyllenbäck, 2010) was a matter of control due to the lack of clear description of how our mind works, and where the familiar story structures and templates constituted a safety. The thorny issue I faced was how to make people aware of their thinking as to access our core cognitive activities. If you have tried talking to people about their thinking and how it works, you will then also know that it is the trickiest thing one can do. If not handled with care, people will, at the most, become aware of you by comparing your thinking with theirs: opinion and meaning-wise. The awareness I am talking about isn’t about being smart or skilled. Instead, it is a matter of being conscious of the mind as a way to become conscious of how emotions, attention, desires, beliefs and intentions relate to our causal thinking and understanding.

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Part 2, Putting into play – On narrative from a cognitive perspective I

The series Putting into play is part of a more than a one-year-long project which began when I received a request from readers. They had noticed how the cognition-based method Narrative bridging (Boman, Gyllenbäck, 2010) provided an overlook and control of the organisation and arrangement of the information (also known as plotting) in the design of an engaging and dynamic game system. Since it is one thing to show how narration and cognition interplay as systems in a game that already exists of which the outcome can be evaluated, but quite another to start from nothing when putting thoughts and feelings into play. When readers expressed curiosity in learning how to use the method from absolute scratch in a hands-on tutorial, a ten-year-old conundrum reemerged concerning the minds-on part of the process.

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Part 1, Putting into play – A model of causal cognition on game design


The title Putting into play is inspired by the term mise-en-scene, which means, “putting into the scene” (or “put on stage”). The term had its origin in theatre and was later picked up by film scholars as to have a way of referring to the practice of directing, planning and controlling the elements for the desired effect on a stage or in a frame of a film. Since the term isn´t established in games but where the concept could provide an overlook of the stylish elements that are to be organised and arranged in the creation of a form; my intention is not to put a new term into play. What I will “put into play” are the thoughts that precede the choice of elements that are to become the parts of the desired form of an engaging and dynamic game system.

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Part 3, Don´t show, involve

The series “Don´t show, involve” builds upon the narrative as a cognitive process and how to go from a thought to the plotting of an involving experience. As to get the most out of the third and last part of “Don´t show, involve” I would like to recommend reading the previous parts before continuing.

Part 1 Don´t show, involve – how to propel a thought towards a goal.
Part 2 Don´t show, involve – hands-on plotting towards a goal.

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Part 2, Don´t show, involve



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.

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