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Seven	
  Plot	
  Lines	
  

 Dr	
  Elyssebeth	
  Leigh	
  
       FutureSearch	
  
          Sydney	
  

     Serious	
  G...
Serious	
  GAmes	
  BarCamp	
  @	
  AFTRS	
  
              8/5/2010	
  
•  Overcoming	
  the	
  monster	
  –	
  heroes/heroines	
  in	
  the	
  story	
  defeat	
  some	
  
   strong	
  force	
  ...
Suspension	
  of	
  Disbelief	
  
•  The	
  goal	
  is	
  to	
  have	
  players	
  accept	
  the	
  ‘unreal’	
  reality	
 ...
Overcoming	
  the	
  monster	
  	
  
•  Key	
  players	
  defeat	
  strong	
  threatening	
  force.	
  
   Examples	
  	
 ...
The	
  Quest	
  	
  
•  Characters	
  enter	
  a	
  journey	
  searching	
  for	
  a	
  worthwhile	
  
   ‘thing’	
  	
  o...
Journey	
  and	
  Return	
  	
  
•  Characters	
  leaves	
  a	
  safe	
  place	
  to	
  journey	
  to	
  
   ‘alien	
  /st...
Comedy	
  	
  
•  Begins	
  with	
  misunderstanding	
  or	
  ignorance	
  of	
  facts	
  
   that	
  keeps	
  characters	...
Tragedy	
  	
  
•  Characters	
  are	
  tempted	
  in	
  way	
  that	
  ensnares	
  character	
  ‘flaw’	
  -­‐	
  
   vanit...
Rebirth	
  	
  
•  Characters	
  are	
  captured	
  or	
  oppressed	
  in	
  some	
  
   specific	
  way.	
  All	
  seem	
 ...
Rags	
  to	
  Riches	
  	
  
•  Self	
  explanatory?	
  




                        Serious	
  GAmes	
  BarCamp	
  @	
  A...
Factors	
  	
  
•  What	
  is	
  a	
  tragedy	
  for	
  them	
  may	
  be	
  a	
  comedy	
  for	
  me	
  
•  “Two	
  story...
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Seven basic plots in sims and games

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Notes for a session at Serious Games BarCamp, AFTRS, Sydney 8/5/2010

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Seven basic plots in sims and games

  1. 1. Seven  Plot  Lines   Dr  Elyssebeth  Leigh   FutureSearch   Sydney   Serious  Games  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  2. 2. Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  3. 3. •  Overcoming  the  monster  –  heroes/heroines  in  the  story  defeat  some   strong  force  which  threatens  them/their  lives   •  The  Quest  –  key  characters  are  propelled  –  or  choose  -­‐  to  enter  into  a   journey  driven  by  a  search  for  some  worthwhile  ‘thing’  or  place  –  in  most   versions  of  this  plot  the  searchers  are  successful   •  Journey  and  Return  -­‐  the  hero/heroine  leaves  a  place  of  safety  (e.g.  home)   and  journeys  to  somewhere  ‘alien  and  strange’.  Their  return  reveals  they   have  had  experiences  that  –  most  oTen  –  have  created  a  change  in  them     •  Comedy  –  this  is  not  limited  to  a  ‘funny’  story.  Usually  it  begins  with  some   kind  of  misunderstanding  or  ignorance  of  relevant  facts  that  keeps  heroes/ heroines  apart  but  which  is  resolved  in  a  manner  that  brings  the  main   characters  back  together  by/before  the  story  ends   •  Tragedy  –  the  heroes/heroines  are  tempted  in  some  way  that  ensnares   their  character’s  ‘flaw’  -­‐  vanity,  greed,  pride  etc.  They  become  increasingly   desperate  or  alienated  being  trapped  by  their  acXons  unXl  at  a  point  of   climax  one  or  more  key  characters  usually  die.     •  Rebirth  –  the  heroes/heroines  are  captured  or  oppressed  in  some  specific   way.  All  seem  to  exist  in  a  state  of  exile  or  enslavement  unXl  all  seems  lost   –  oTen  a  miracle  or  unexpected  arrival  brings  the  longed  for  freedom  from   oppression     •  Rags  to  Riches  –  this  is  so  familiar  as  to  be  a  self  explanatory  Xtle   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  4. 4. Suspension  of  Disbelief   •  The  goal  is  to  have  players  accept  the  ‘unreal’  reality  of   their  experience     –  We  know  what  we  know  and  will  not  go  far  beyond  that   before  we  stop  accepXng  the  story   •  The  context  in  which  we/they  are  is  central   –  In  a  playground  we  accept  one  set  of  realiXes,  in  the   classroom  these  no  longer  apply   •  Power  relaXonships  influence  acceptance   –  Who  ‘tells’  the  story?  Who  owns  the  ending?  What   happens  aTerwards?   •  Nature  of  the  engagement  determines  reacXons   –  They  must  be  ‘true’  to  individual  understanding  of  what  is   ‘reasonable’  (not  ‘possible’)   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  5. 5. Overcoming  the  monster     •  Key  players  defeat  strong  threatening  force.   Examples     –  Alien   –  Predator   –  How  to  train  your  dragon   –  Portal  –  valve   –  Harry  Po`er   –  Jaws   –  Matrix   –  Donkey  Kong   –  Heavy  Rain   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  6. 6. The  Quest     •  Characters  enter  a  journey  searching  for  a  worthwhile   ‘thing’    or  place  –  and  are  oTen  successful.   •  Examples     –  Mario  bros   –  Sinbad   –  Thelma  and  Louise   –  Lord  of  the  rings   –  MMORPGs  -­‐  RPG’s   –  Branching  games   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  7. 7. Journey  and  Return     •  Characters  leaves  a  safe  place  to  journey  to   ‘alien  /strange’  places.  Return  shows  experiences   have  changed  them.   •  Examples     –  Lord  of  the  Rings   –  Homer  –  the  illiad   –  Paolo  Coehlo   •      Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  8. 8. Comedy     •  Begins  with  misunderstanding  or  ignorance  of  facts   that  keeps  characters  apart  -­‐  resolved  in  a  way  to   brings  them  together  by/before  the  end.   •  Examples?   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  9. 9. Tragedy     •  Characters  are  tempted  in  way  that  ensnares  character  ‘flaw’  -­‐   vanity,  greed,  pride  etc  -­‐  become  increasingly  desperate  or   alienated,  trapped  by  their  acXons  unXl  at  climax  someone   dies.   •  Examples?   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  10. 10. Rebirth     •  Characters  are  captured  or  oppressed  in  some   specific  way.  All  seem  to  be  exiled  or  enslaved  -­‐  all   seems  lost  –  oTen  a  miracle  or  unexpected  arrival   brings  the  longed  for  freedom  from  oppression   –  Shawshank  RedempXon   –  Joseph  and  his  technicolour  dreamcoat   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  11. 11. Rags  to  Riches     •  Self  explanatory?   Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  
  12. 12. Factors     •  What  is  a  tragedy  for  them  may  be  a  comedy  for  me   •  “Two  story  lines  “stranger  comes  to  town  -­‐  OR  –  the  danger   comes  to  you     •  TransacXonal  and  transformaXonal  perspecXves  of  the   framework   •  Joseph  Campbell  as  ‘biographer’  of  the  “hero’s  journey”   •  If  games  only  pick  up/use  some  of  these  categories  why  is   this  so?   –  Technology  limitaXons   –  What    else?   •  But  wait  there’s  more  –  only  we  did  not  have  Xme,  this   Xme!   •  If  this  presentaXon  was  a  ‘story’  which  of  these  ‘seven  plot   lines’  would  best  describe  it?     Serious  GAmes  BarCamp  @  AFTRS   8/5/2010  

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