Unfamiliar Feminine Spaces in Gone Home’s Environmental Storytelling

Bednorz Magdalena
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Spatiality of digital environments, including video games, is not only one of the defining aspects of the medium (Murray 2001), but also an aspect through which medium-specific types of narratives can be communicated to the audience. It allows for environmental (or diegetic) storytelling – a narrative method in which the story originates from exploration (Carson 2000; Peirce 2007; Smith and Worch 2010), in which the player traverses the game space and discovers pieces of information in the form of artifacts and elements of the environment. Among the games which broadly employ this type of storytelling is The Fullbright Company’s first-person adventure exploration game Gone Home (2013). In the game, the player assumes the role of Katie, who returns home after a year abroad only to find her family house deserted. By spatial exploration focused mainly on searching the house, the player, through Katie, can solve the mystery and discover the story of coming of age, discovering one’s sexuality, and coping with the aftermath. Doing so requires interacting with objects placed within the house—they seem to work as a conduit of the narrative, not only informing of the recent events by themselves (e.g. notes, pictures), but also occasionally triggering additional audio-narration.


Archaeological Storytelling in Games

Livingstone Daniel Louchart Sandy Jeffrey Stuart
2016 DiGRA/FDG ’16 – Proceedings of the 2016 Playing With History Workshop

Digital games have been increasingly recognized in recent years for their existing and potential contributions as a medium for promoting engagement with history and cultural heritage. Rather than focus on how games can help the public engage with a known (to scholars) past, here we consider instead how the core problems and processes of archeology themselves might be applied as a story-telling technique in games. We consider what this might look like in games and contrast with archeogaming, existing environmental storytelling approaches and examples. Finally, we consider how these techniques could also be applied to developing games to support students learning about archaeology and material culture.


Game Spaces Speak Volumes: Indexical Storytelling

Fernández-Vara Clara
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

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.