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.
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.
I was recently asked if I could show a perfect narrative composition for everyone to see. There aren’t any, I replied, and remembered the puzzled faces when giving lectures in narrative design when I avoided answering which video game I liked; since if I did I was likely to receive concepts that looked the same.
Narrative constructors (designers) should always be vigilant to following: