On Storytelling: Playstyles and Endings

Ideally, a video game’s story should react to your actions as a player. How you play the game should affect the story. And yet, that fascination with interactive storytelling lends itself to problems about how we approach a given game – or maybe even games in general. To what extent might your own approach continually funnel you toward a specific ending? In this essay I explore the conundrum of trying to mesh interaction and storytelling and the strange dilemma that faces developers.

On Storytelling: The Promise of Mystery

Mysteries can be fun and engaging, and hold a lot of promise when a player can be the main character. Yet, so many games that offer mysteries end up falling short. Where do they go wrong? In this essay I will be looking at some ways in which games that hold the promise of a mystery end up not making good on that promise.

On Storytelling: Narratives through Teamwork

When we experience narratives in games, we tend to experience them alone. We can share that solitary experience with others, but the original process of engaging with the story is something we do on our own. But what happens to the narrative as a concept when a game requires us to collaborate with others to construct the story?

On Storytelling: Age-Old Ideas and Criticism

What does it mean for a theme to be “played out”? When is a game’s story boring because it’s just rehashing a theme we’re all familiar with? In this essay I explore two radically different stories – Aeschylus’s Oresteia and The Last of Us Part II – to talk about the theme of revenge, and some problems of media criticism.