There are no spoilers in the post, but if you hold a belief that some designers are mysterious and that their games are magic, I would advise thinking twice before deciding to read the post.
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.
A schemata is a pattern of thinking that describes our seeking for meaning and how we categorise information and store it in small boxes that we call our memory, which forms our experiences and knowledge. What meanings we are creating from a narrative perspective is not easy to tell. However, what isn´t that unpredictable and arbitrary as we might think are the schemata that are running like a goal-oriented vehicle that makes us look for causes and consequences in familiar patterns.
Thus the reality for they who work with narrative construction within the game industry is to work with a story driven/based genre I will revisit the conditions I described in the first part of the series “Don´t show, involve” when I paired up the writer Vince Gilligan (creator of the television series “Breaking Bad”) and the game designer Jenova Chen (the creator of the online game “Journey”). Since the story and the gameplay are seen as two separate elements within the game industry, which easily leads to the creation of two premises to be merged into one (1) form I will take a closer look at dialogues as a stylish element from the perspective of the narrative as a cognitive and dynamic element and how it can give meaning to an experience.
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.
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”.
How the game industry understood narrative, wasn’t really a big issue (the problems should be found somewhere else). As I always worked within entertainment, I never thought of a narrative from any other perspective than to deliver a feeling of something worth spending time on and where the goal was to give something people didn’t know they were missing. Continue reading