Title: Games, narrative and the design of interface

Authors: Jim Bizzocchi; M.A. Ben Lin; Joshua Tanenbaum

Addresses: School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, 250-13450 102nd Avenue, Surrey, BC V3T 3A0, Canada ' School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, 250-13450 102nd Avenue, Surrey, BC V3T 3A0, Canada ' School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, 250-13450 102nd Avenue, Surrey, BC V3T 3A0, Canada

Abstract: There is a potential disconnection between the experience of narrative and the active decision-making necessary for successful gameplay. Gameplayers must oscillate between a hypermediated participation in game decisions, and the transparent pleasure in the narrative frame of the game (Bolter and Grusin, 1999; Manovich, 2001). This paper analyses one critical locus for facilitating player oscillation and bridging the gap between narrative pleasure and gameplay interaction. Narrative dynamics can be designed directly into the focus of active gameplay – the game interface. This paper identifies and explicates four separate design approaches for integrating narrative within the game’s interface: (1) a narrativised ‘look and feel’ of the interface; (2) behavioural mimicking and behavioural metaphors; (3) narrativised perspective and (4) ‘bridging’ and mixed-reality interfaces. These concepts are useful for describing, analysing and understanding how narrative experience can be instantiated within the game interface. Application of these concepts can help to reveal useful strategies for conjoining ludic play with narrative pleasure. Collectively, this approach is a step towards creating a common theoretical vocabulary for discussing the phenomenon of narrativised game interface.

Keywords: interactive narrative; game narrative; game design; interface design; narrativised interface; interactive experience; augmented environments; narrative pleasure; gameplay interaction; game interface.

DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2011.043445

International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2011 Vol.4 No.4, pp.460 - 479

Available online: 30 Oct 2011

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