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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Are you a man or a mouse?

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”.

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