1. Papers, Please and The Walking Dead shared the theme of decision making in potential life or death situations. In Papers, Please, the player had the fate of the immigrants as well as their character’s own family members in their hands. Every decision affected someone else in the game. In The Walking Dead, the potential life or death situations were more immediate as the player’s decisions immediately affected their character’s own fate.  As each game went along, more of the stories behind the game were shared and there was a general increase in information and knowledge.

 

a. Paper’s, Please isn’t trying to teach the player to be an immigration officer but it does make players question morals and ethics. While a player may want to be generous and admit everyone into the country, such actions can have devastating effects for their character’s families. A balance is needed to succeed in the game and it isn’t possible to please or benefit all of the characters. The narrative does affect the initial game play because the player starts to realize the impacts of their decisions and that admitting someone into the country may not even help the person let in. For example, some people let into the country were later shot by border control officers.

 

c. The Walking Dead had more of a narrative than simply survival. The game would pause to give video clips of the story, which were shared in the midst of physical game play. In the barn area, the main character had the ability to interact with the family living on the farm as well as the young girl he was with. In this scene, the character wasn’t fighting for his own survival but was protecting the girl and trying to help out the family while gaining insight on their personal lives. This thematic change was reinforced by the need to talk to every other character before the game would advance.

 

2. These games question the traditional storytelling experience, especially in terms of the outcome. There is no guarantee that there will be a finalized outcome, as there is in a traditional form of storytelling, because you can be shut out of the game. Also, there are multiple outcomes and many different paths of reaching those outcomes. Narratives in games are more interactive with the audience than other mediums because the player is involved in every decision made.

 

3. I think the value in playing a narrative game is that the story gives the game a purpose. Instead of playing for pure entertainment, these kinds of narrative games invest the player into the game by creating an emotional connection and by teaching the player about their own decision-making capabilities and morals. Creating a narrative in game form versus a film or book opens the story into a wide range of possible outcomes and takes the story from a linear form into one that is able to evolve based on each individual player.

 

Samantha Donohue

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