Monday, December 5, 2011

Bringing it all together: Development Team Activity

We're going to break up into groups, assign roles from a development team, and work through some of the categories in ch. 11 in The Game Design Workshop. We can also use the following terms, from "Tools for Creating Dramatic Game Dynamics" by Marc LeBlanc

We also need to move towards some conclusions about story and narrative in games and other digital narrative experiences and forms. In "Interaction & Narrative," Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern distinguish between STORY: "experiences that have a tightly organized plot arc, progression towards a climax, beginning, middle, and end, etc" and NARRATIVE: " the abstract properties or qualities of stories, and more loosely structured, 'experimental,' story-like experiences" (643 in The Game Design Reader). Are these helpful definitions and distinctions, and if so, why? Where do interaction and narrative intersect?

For the old conflict between game and narrative, see: Jesper Juul: "A Clash between Game and Narrative". Paper presented at the Digital Arts and Culture conference, Bergen, Norway, November 1998.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Exquisite Games and Situating Play

Here is a link to instructions for the exquisite corpse game the surrealists played in the 1920s.

And, although I am not suggesting you get this app, here is a description of the idea of Situationist games made into an app for the iphone.

The exquisite corpse and situationist idea of play are two ideas/approaches we can discuss after our experience at the museum, or maybe during it.

Mystery Mission


Friday, September 16, 2011

Imagining vs Interacting

I was reading up on Storybricks, an app for making your own video games, and found a blog post about "lore" that has a pertinent distinction between books and films on the one side, and games on the other, that addresses something we were talking around yesterday in class:

 Without the latter two kinds of lore, the former two are lies. They make you believe that something is there where there’s nothing. It’s fine for a book or a movie, or even for a tabletop RPG supplement, because these media are about stimulating your imagination. But games are about interaction.
Let's keep thinking about that distinction: between media that stimulate the imagination (but without interaction) and media that are about interaction ( but, one assumes, also stimulate the imagination?  or no?  or not in the same way because you are busy interacting??????)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stories about Digital Narrative

"Master of Play: The many worlds of a video-game artist," by  in The New Yorker

"Transmedia Storytelling," by Henry Jenkins in Technology Review

How do these two stories in the media depict games, stories, and the digital/networked technologies that are used to experience them?  What assumptions does each writer make about the audience and its attitude towards either video games or transmedia?  Is there an implicit or explicit critique of the newer forms of culture?  A defense?  

Finally, what do you learn from the two readings that might help you pinpoint salient issues in thinking about digital narrative?

Shigeru Miyamoto has always tried to re-create his childhood wonderment. He
Illustration from The New Yorker article.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome to Digital Narrative Theory & Practice, Fall 2011

Welcome to Digital Narrative for Fall 2011, at Berklee College of Music. 

This course blends theory and practice in an exploration of digital narrative: how stories can be told with digital and new media technologies, and how narrative can be experienced in games and immersive environments. We will work critically and creatively with linear and nonlinear narratives in a range of media: writing, graphics, animation, games, multimedia, virtual worlds, and interactive media. 

The overall theme of the course will focus on moving image narratives--both linear and non-linear--that explore ideas about storytelling, time, and memory. In particular, we will consider how interactivity changes narrative, and whether there are new kinds of digital narratives and aesthetics emerging.  Students will make movies, games, websites, DVDs, and online installations that illuminate ideas about story, plot, character, time, and narration, comment on their creative work using the critical concepts they learn, and experiment with word processing, graphics, machinima capture, video editing, game design, and web design software programs.

All students will analyze their own responses to the games, films, readings, and other media we encounter in terms of the key concepts from the course in order to deepen their understanding of how meaning is made in digital narrative and interactive media, to enhance the production of their own creative projects, and to explore the nature and complexity of the role of digital media in our society and culture.  Students in the Video Game Scoring Minor will focus on deepening their understanding of the subjective experiences of game play and narrative in a range of interactive media in order to be better able to score video games effectively and creatively.  Students in the Visual Culture and Interactive Media Minor will focus on specifically narrative in digital and interactive media as particular manifestations of visual culture, and develop projects that explore areas of interest, such as digital cinema, comics, installation art, performance art, software studies, or mobile technology.