With rapid innovation in computational technologies, storytelling has found a new home in interactive digital media. Among all forms of interactive narrative, story-based digital games are clearly the most prosperous domain thanks to their incredible popularity. Narrative design for such games, however, is often under studied in the current practice of game analysis due to the lack of a mature discourse model specifically for games and interactive narratives. To facilitate a deep understanding of game narratives, powerful analytical instruments are needed to characterize game narratives and describe how narrative works in games. This research seeks to develop a descriptive framework to characterize and describe interactive and game narratives by applying and extending narrative theory. The framework aims to bring out new insights on interactive storytelling by observing how game narratives are constructed, what narrative techniques are used, and how narrative structure and technique affect the narrative and gameplay experience. By applying this framework to three games, the in-depth analyses systematically unravelled how various narrative principles and techniques operate in games and demonstrated the utility of the framework as an analytical instrument for the observation and understanding of the structure of interactive narratives.
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Thesis advisor: Calvert, Tom
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