Narrative models are an interesting topic to me. It has been studied and categorized in the past, without a lot of clear focus/detail on how the models could be adapted to future mediums.
The interactivity of video games creates an opportunity for new narrative models and systems that I think the industry is just now scratching the surface of. Especially with the relatively recent introduction of VR.
Aspects of interactivity that could affect these models:
- The avatar. The opportunity for the viewer to quite literally become the character of a narrative is something that’s unique to games, a feeling that is sometimes hinted at with deeply immersive films and TV shows. Empathy opens up endless avenues for how a story arc can be told.
- Cooperation. Online or local, storytelling through group play is entirely revolutionary as far as narrative models go.
- The extended session. While games share more similarities with film than most other mediums, this is much more literary. Like most books/novels, many video games are specifically designed to played over multiple sessions across days/weeks/months. Similar maybe to TV shows. This creates that sense of long term investment, and allows for opportunities to adjust the narrative model to fit and accentuate it.
- The interactive/non-interactive dynamic. Many games (let’s say actually most games that consider themselves narrative) juggle their storytelling between interactivity/gameplay and passive experience. “Cut scenes” or “story” or “cinematic” are terms used for these passive experiences. The balance both of these aspects create together are in some ways complex enough to be considered a category of narrative model.
- Multi-media. Video games are nothing if not a messy-beautiful conglomeration of every other type of media. Audio, video, text, design, illustration, animation, narrative, interactivity… all of that is present in most games. This is an opportunity for the creator to tell their story on multiple levels throughout the experience.
More! There are many more, but we must move on.
[ Today I Was Playing: nothing… ]
May 21, 2017