Theme 2: Narrative and Dialogue in Games

Extensive research has shown that narrative (storytelling, etc.) is fundamental to how we as humans experience our world and relate to others. In this Theme, we will investigate the ways in which narrative and dialogue are also capable of promoting engagement in the virtual world of games. Core questions to be addressed here include the following: How can we better use narrative techniques/tools and theories/methodologies to improve gaming experiences? How do story genres and dialogue systems work as narrative systems in games?

Projects will include:

  • A study of narrative scope, branching narratives, and generative narratives: pitfalls and benefits of different narrative types and their impact on the story
  • Everyday storytelling: What is the place of the narratives and storytelling that emerge out of games in everyday life? How do players become storytellers? What is the path from storytelling to player content creation?
  • The life of game writing: how game writers work and function within the games industry; how do they interact with programmers, designers, level designers, marketing staff, etc.
  • Transmedia experiences: understanding the translation of story from one media to another; understanding how text, as text, works in a game.

Publications & Presentations

NameTitleThemeMediumInstitution
Camlot, Jason“Historicizing with Digital Design, or, What building a “digital archive” can teach us about the material Archive.” (Re)constituer l’archive conference. Figura-NT2 Concordia, 27 March 2015.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Camlot, Jason“SpokenWeb 2010–2015: Edition, Event, Context.” Panel on Les editions critiques en context numerique. Canadian Society of Digital Humanities conference, Congress 2015. University of Ottawa, 3 June 2015.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Camlot, Jason“Theses on Weird Media.” Delivered as organizer/respondent for two panels on Literature and Media at the Modern Language Association annual conference. Vancouver, 9–10 January 2014.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Gallagher, Rob ‘Exaptation, Interpretation, PlayStation.’ College Art Association conference 2014, Chicago, February 14th 2014.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Gallagher, Rob ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Bugs: On Modding and the Poetry of Patch Notes.’ Canadian Game Studies Association annual conference, Brock University, Ontario. May 28th, 2014.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Jong, Carolyn“‘Improving’ Lydia: Fantasy Girls and Women Warriors.” IMMERSe Medievalism and Video Games Symposium. May 2–3, 2015. Davis, CA, United States.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Jong, Carolyn “‘Fighting the Good Fight’: GamerGate and Neo-fascism.” Let’s Ruin Games Panel. Canadian Game Studies Association Conference. June 3–5, 2015. Ottawa, ON, Canada.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Jong, Carolyn “Playing Bodies, Modding Bodies, Breaking Bodies.” Canadian Game Studies Association Conference. May 28, 2014. Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Jong, Carolyn, Rob Gallagher, and Kalervo A. Sinervo “A History of Happy Accidents, or Who Wrote The Elder Scrolls?” Games History Annual Symposium. June 27, 2014. Montreal, QC.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Sinervo, Kalervo A“Gaming Gotham: Transmedia Geography and the Batman: Arkham Game Series.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies. March 28, 2015. Montreal, Canada.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Sinervo, Kalervo A“Gotham on the Ground: the Heritage of Batman: Arkham Origins’ Virtual Geography.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. April 4, 2015. New Orleans, USA.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Sinervo, Kalervo A. “Mod Installation as Game Design in Bethesda’s Skyrim.” Canadian Game Studies Association 2014 Conference. May 28, 2014. St. Catharines, Canada.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Sinervo, Kalervo A., and Darren Wershler“Digital Marvel and the Bias of Media.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies. March 8, 2013. Chicago, USA.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperConcordia
Buswell, Evan“If: Close Reading the Conditional Branch Instruction.” Presentation at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA), Dallas, TX, 2014. Narrative and Dialogue in GamesKeynote AddressUC Davis
Aardse, Kent. “Alternate Reality Games, Narrative Disbursement, and Canon: The LOST Experience.” Fan CULTure: Participatory Fandom in the 21st Century. McFarland Publishing. 2012. Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperUWaterloo
Hancock, Michael. “Motorville und de Portal-Quest: Die Rhetork der Fantasy in Ni no Kuni.” Paida: Zeitschrift für Computerspielforschung. Oct 22, 2014. Web. July 3, 2015. Narrative and Dialogue in GamesJournal ArticleUWaterloo
Orlando, Alexandra and Matthew Schwager.“The Cyborg Game: Narrative/Ludic Fusion in Deus Ex: Human Revolution“. The Play Versus Story Divide in Game Studies: Critical Essays. McFarland. 2016. Forthcoming.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesConf. PaperUWaterloo
Voorhees, G. Play and Possibility in the Rhetoric of the War on Terror: The Structure of Agency in Halo 2. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research 9 (2). 2014.Narrative and Dialogue in GamesJournal ArticleUWaterloo
Collins, KarenBreaking the Fourth Wall: User-Generated Sonic Content in Virtual Worlds. Oxford Handbook of Virtuality, Oxford University Press (ed. Mark Grimshaw). 2013.Narrative and Dialogue in Games Book ChapterUWaterloo
Hancock, Michael. “Gamer Profiles: The Split-Screener.” Medium Difficulty. 17 April 2013. Web. July 10, 2013. Narrative and Dialogue in Games and Multimodality in the GameJournal ArticleUWaterloo
Randall, N. The Lord of the Rings Online: Issues of Adaptation [with K. Murphy], in Voorhees, G., Call, J., & Whitlock, K., (eds) Dungeons, Dragons, and Digital Denizens: The Digital Role-Playing Game. Continuum, 2012. 113-131.Narrative and Dialogue in Games; Cultural & Social InteractionsJournal ArticleUWaterloo