1-    As we discussed in class, a general theme in these games is choice. Making decisions and realizing their consequences, is what makes a game a game. The individual playing these games can only engage in the narrative by participating and making these choices.

  1. Papers, Please makes a point about the concept of decision making. Choices are made in this game that involve risk, and affect the lives of your character and his family. Some decisions come down to emotional/moral dilemmas versus whether to go by the rulebook. The game also specifically tests attention to detail, memory, and problem-solving skills.
  2. The Stanley Parable is interesting because in order to succeed, you must defy the narrator. This offers an experience as a player that differs from many other games. Questioning whether decisions you make are your own or someone else’s, is a message that can often apply to real life.

2-    A narrative can only be experienced by making these decisions. The structure of the game’s story is essentially “choice, consequence, choice, consequence,” until it is won or lost. What makes these narratives unique from real life decisions and consequences is that they often involve impossible happenings. In the Stanley Parable, for instance, we are brought into a dream like state where we float above the floor instead of walking.  Additionally, the worst that can happen in the narrative of a video game, is “game over.” There is always a chance to try once again. What is interesting, however, is that ultimately there is a limit to how a narrative of a game is shaped. The gamer is inevitably held within the limits of the options that the creator has decided to allow for.

3-    I think game designers wish to tell a narrative or convey a purpose in a way that allows for the participation of the audience, and their “self-achievement” of such a message. Interactivity has been a theme throughout our study of digital humanities project, and I think there is a power in using this as a tool to reach an audience rather than another means of storytelling such as a film.

Rachel Fredey

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