Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games Reflection

In the reading, Eric Zimmerman mentioned about how can we capitalize on the unique qualities of games in order to create new kinds of game-stories? What if dynamic play procedures were used as the very building-blocks of storytelling? It is true that in the current times, there is tremendous amount of interest in the intersection of games and stories, such as the example of game developers increasingly relying on filmic story techniques that is just turning games into another kind of cinema.

The term “game-story” can be debunked in many various ways and there is no right or wrong answers. The four terms – play, games, narrative, interactivity – are also not mutually exclusive or representative of four categories. They are in fact overlapping and intersecting the others in complex and unique ways. Hence, when we think about what “game-story” is, we have to think of this four terms together and not separately.

I really like the three parts definition of the term “narrative” by J. Hillis Miller as personally I adored narratives yet always found it hard to address it with a definition. It is also true based on his definition, many things that are not usually thought of as narrative happens to be a narrative as well. I found this interesting and insightful as I used to only think narrative was mostly just about books or stories.

Interactivity was another interesting concept that Eric Zimmerman has debunked with four modes – cognitive, functional, explicit and meta. Interactivity is not just about two people or things responding to one another. Again, these are not four distinct categories but it overlaps and occur at varying degrees. The four modes are also mostly incorporated entirely or some simultaneously.

For play he divided them into three general categories – game play, ludic activities and being playful. He also gave a definition that addresses all of these uses – Play is the free space of movement within a more rigid structure. The key takeaway was the free movement and within a rigid structure.

He mentioned games are voluntary, explicit participation with behavior constraining rules, has artificiality, embody conflict and a quantifiable outcome. This is true. Gameplay is not just restricted to on the gameplay elements but also the player’s experience in entirety. 

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