Exploring the Role of Narrative Puzzles in Game Storytelling


In this paper, we consider narrative puzzles in story-driven video games as distinct design elements of great narrative importance. While many scholars and designers focus on the inner workings and mechanisms of puzzles, we delve deeper into the role that puzzles play in the unfolding and the player’s experience of game plot. Drawing on examples from a variety of games that are rich in narrative puzzles, we present an initial taxonomy of the functions a narrative puzzle can perform for game storytelling and discuss their potential implications. Through the analysis and discussion, the paper aspires to contribute to both game analysis and game design with a new analytical lens as well as description of some potential design patterns that involve narrative puzzles.