Game Spaces Speak Volumes: Indexical Storytelling
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In the problematic exploration of the narrative potential of videogames, one of the clearest aspects that bridge stories and games is space. This paper examines the different devices that videogames have used to incorporate stories through spatial design and what is known as environmental storytelling, focusing on the design elements that make the story directly relevant to gameplay beyond world-building and backstory exposition. These design-related elements are accounted for with the term indexical storytelling. As a refinement of the concept of environmental storytelling, indexical storytelling is a productive game design device, since reading the space of the game and learning about the events that have taken place in it are required to traverse the game successfully. Storytelling becomes a game of story-building, since the player has to piece together the story, or construct a story of her own interaction in the world by leaving a trace.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Comparative Media Studies
Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play
Digital Games Research Association
Fernandez-Vara, Clara. "Game Spaces Speak Volumes: Indexical Storytelling." 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play (January 2011).
Author's final manuscript