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Storytelling & Games: Interactive Expression


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Invited talk for the 2nd GALA Alignment School. Organized by GALA - Games and Learning Alliance, Network of Excellence on Serious Games, funded by the FP7. Carcavelos, Lisbon, 25 June 2012.

Storytelling & Games: Interactive Expression

  1. GALA - Games and Learning Alliance, Network of Excellence on Serious Games, FP7Storytelling & Games: Interactive ExpressionNelson Zagalo, University of Minho Lisbon, 25 June 2012
  2. Serious Games Serious Games =Educational tools / Learning Software
  3. The purposeThe purpose of Serious Games is not just puttinggame strategies at the service of education ortraining, but rather take the training andeducation to the game.Use games to teach, is not something new, wehad a lot of that in the 1990s, with the idea of"Edutainment." Now we started over again withthis new label "Serious Games".The main problem has been a total absence ofinterest in the Player. Betting everything on theteaching, on message conveying regardless ofform, structure and gameplay used.We forgot the player and the uniqueness ofgames as a communication and art form.
  4. Why people PlayGames are trial structures, and people like to bejudged.But beware, because they do not want any kindof judgment, they want to be judged favorably.The rewards are what explain to the player thathe performed his duties properly.People play to be rewarded through:Compliments, Points, Empowerment,Self-Expression, and other forms.
  5. We Play, We Do, We BecomeStorytelling is the art of creating structures of consistentevents in order to stimulate specific audience effects.In the games case, these events can only be triggered byuser participation in the course of interaction, fulfilling somerules.Thus looking into art and media comparison we have,Literature - we read (ideas described symbolically of) what happened.Film - we see (ideas displayed of) what happened.Videogame - we do (actions that become ideas) happen.
  6. The mechanics are the message Learnign about Middle Passage at schoolsBrenda Brathwaite, Gaming for understanding, at TEDxPhoenix (2011)
  7. Mechanics on Middle Passage New World , board game improvised by Brenda BrathwaiteFamilies in Africa Boat to take people to the US
  8. Interactive expression, not filmThe approach and attempt to glue the aesthetic universe and cinematographicpractices, is a natural step in the creation of video games when we think of sendingmessages throughout any audiovisual medium.But to some extent this glue has done more harm than good to the media, becauselike what happened with the passage from theater to film, it is limiting the potential forartistic expression of the games.Film to games problems:1 - inputs of cinematic stylitics2 - very long cut-scenes3 - a linear succession of dramatic events credible4 - creating characters, dialogue and coherent fictional worlds5 - obsession with graphic realism to support the need for coherent representationWhat is ultimately the singularity aesthetics of videogames?
  9. SingularityTheatre[Drama + (Architecture, Painting, Literature, Music)] LiveFilm[Editing + (Theatre)] CinematographyVideogames[Interactivity + (Film)] CGI*Videogames Singularity: Interactivity* CGI – Computer Graphics Images
  10. InteractivityNon-interactive, when amessage is not related toprevious messages;Reactive, when a message isrelated only to one immediatelyprevious message;Interactive, when a message isrelated to a number of previousmessages and to the relationshipbetween them.(P) Person(O) Other(M) Messages(Mj) Temporal sequencesP(Mj) or (OMj) - Messages based in Previous MessagesP(Mj/Mj-1) or M (Mj/Mj-1) - Previous messages based in earlier messages
  11. Communicate through digital interactivityInteractivity is the Singularity of Game. Interactivity is a consequentlycommunication cycle and between the object and person.Questions, - Can I communicate complex messages through interactivity? - How can I do it?We can start by taking the following - Create Art is Playing with ideas from our Reality - Structuring Play is creating GamesWithout forgetting that, - In videogames we make happen actions that become ideas.
  12. playing with world representations “The circles represent outside elements entering the marriage. The size of each square represents the amount of space that person is taking up within the marriage. The transparency of the squares represents how engaged that person is in the marriage. When one person fades out of the marriage and becomes emotionally distant then the marriage is over. The game mechanics are designed such that the game is fragile. It’s easy to break. This is deliberate as marriages are fragile and they feel fragile, I wanted to get this across.”The Marriage, (2007), Rod Humble
  13. playing with world representations “On the surface, the point of Passage is to open as many treasure chests within the allotted time. But thats not what Jason Rohrers award winning game is really about. What it is really about is love, the passing of time, saying goodbye to youth and freedom, grief - ultimately life itself.”Passage, (2007), Jason Rohrer
  14. playing with world representations “As a mother, its your job to keep your little tyke in the safety of the homestead until they have enough experience to survive the monster-infested woods. Dont expect any gratitude, though. The brat will continually try to give you the slip and escape into the wild. After a while, like many a parent, you may well be tempted to let it go find out the hard way what the worlds really like.”A Mother in Festerwood, (2011)de Austin
  15. playing with world representationsDistance (2010) de Austin Breed“Austin Breed has created a split-screen tale of a couple separated by, well, distance. You followtheir separate, daily routines and at night get to pose one of two questions while they chat on thephone. But will their eyes start to wander? What would you do? Find out!”
  16. playing with world representations "One Chance is a game about choices and dealing with them. Scientist John Pilgrim and his team have accidently created a pathogen that is killing all living cells on Earth. In the last 6 remaining in-game days on Earth, the player must make choices about how to spend his last moments. Will heOne Chance, (2010), AwkwardSilence spend time with his family, work on a cure or go nuts?"
  17. playing with world representations “Gray is a riot - quite literally. In this cerebral, experimental game, you play the part of a lone dissenter, trying desperately to win a seemingly never ending horde of rioters over to your cause. It seems like a helpless task but one by one you manage to woo the rioters until eventually you have the majority following you. But what does any self-respecting rebel do when they are a member of the majority, well in this game, they switch to the other side of course, and repeat the whole process again but from the opposite direction. Gray raises some interesting questions about the individual and the possibility of one person changing the course of history.”Gray, (2009), Greg
  18. playing with world representations Connections, (2011), mindful xp
  19. playing with world representationsEvery Day the Same Dream, 2007, Paolo Pedercini“Every day the same dream is a slightly existential riff on the theme ofalienation and refusal of labor. The idea was to charge the cyclic nature ofmost video games with some kind of meaning (i.e. the "play again" is not agame over). Yes, there is an end state, you can "beat" the game.”
  20. Storytelling & Games: Interactive ExpressionNelson Zagalo, http://nelsonzagalo.googlepages.comB. http://virtual-illusion.blogspot.comF. - Games and Learning AllianceLisbon, 25 June 2012