Final Project Ideation

I really enjoyed using Twine for this last project, so I want to continue exploring that. I don’t think I pushed my project nearly as far as I could have, and I want to try many more things and expand on the story I began. The story will continue where The Killer Among the Stars left off. It will be largely based in Twine, almost entirely. I’m not yet sure what other modules I want to include, but potentially see working with diagrammatic narrative and large, full, one-panel comics.

The Storytelling of Games

Storytelling in video games has a rich history. To this day, games are proving themselves in the world of narrative, standing alongside the media giants of television and movies.

A recent personal standout is Elden Ring. The player experience begins with an intro cinematic that presents some of the lore of the game. Grandiose and mystifying, the cinematic tells of the shattered Elden Ring, slain gods, and introduces a group of powerful Tarnished characters, the player being the last of them. It sets the whole game narrative in motion brilliantly.

Once the gameplay begins, the player slowly reveals more of the story. Bits of lore are discovered through item descriptions and dialogue. As the player moves through the game, they push the story forward as well, as defeating bosses has an impact on the world and progression. This adds to the beautiful sense of wonder established by the cinematic, and only seems to grow.


I want to give props to another smaller game, too. The storytelling in Journey is also beautiful and engaging. This game has no dialogue or text, which leaves the worldbuilding much more up to the imagination. In this game, you play as a humanoid creature set to wander around a desert and various other environments. The beauty in this game’s worldbuilding is in its openness to interpretation. The player sees a few different cutscenes in the game when moving between areas. These are wordlessly shown in animated scenes reminiscent of cave paintings or something similar. A sense of the ancient world that was there before the player emerges through the game experience. Wonder and beauty are what pique the interest in this game’s story.

The Semiotic Triad of Symbols, Indexes, and Icons

CityFish, J.R. Carpenter’s semi-interactive work, is positively brimming with symbols, indexes, and icons. All of these serve alongside text to deliver the narrative.

As the user scrolls through the sideways-moving world of CityFish, they come across paragraphs that have been paired up with supplementary images, such as Chinese characters when the story moves into New York City’s Chinatown. The layout of the story is mostly icons, with symbols taking the second seat on the podium and indexes third. The reason for the icons is their supplementary nature previously mentioned. They serve as direct representations or expansions of the imagery provided in the text. These additions help propel the plot forward because they give a fuller sense of what is happening, similarly to Action-to-Action and Non-Sequitur  transitions as described by Scott McCloud. Without the text, you wouldn’t really know what was happening, though you could piece it together. The text glues these icons together.

Iconography helps you to interact with the story through the character’s eyes. Most of the images presented in the icons are directly what Lynne sees. Aside from these more direct images, we also get maps, which help give the setting and feeling of the story. This is helpful for generating usage ideas in my own work. I really enjoy the escapism of storytelling, as seen in CityFish, can add another layer on top of the story reading experience.

Hypertext Stories

I believe that all the examples presented in this week’s readings are considered stories. Each of them presents an intriguing way of telling their own series of events. Some are more linear, like How to Rob a Bank, while the others are looser.

The way that With Those  We Love Alive presents its narrative is similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book. There are several possibilities at most junctures in the story. Locations are presented to the user, and different items are interacted with in each. The user can also dictate some of the details of the story by interacting with the purple links. Purple links are able to be changed until the user decides they’re satisfied, then can be locked in place with a final click.

My Boyfriend Came Back from the War is even more open and freeform than the prior work. There are many options at most points through the story, divided up into sections. You can read through a section, clicking and moving it along, but you can also go between different sections. The user determines the speed at which each piece of narrative is developed, which creates for a very large range of possibilities. Sections also break up into smaller sections after a certain amount of development. The user needs to piece together much more of the story here, as it’s delivered in very small fragments.

How to Rob a Bank is such a product of a particular time. It’s like a time capsule, in a way. Everything is delivered to the user through screen captures. Emails, texts, news articles, Google searches. The series of events here is the most linear. The user has no choices other than to simply progress forward.

The Occurrences Between Film and Word

The short film adaptation of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge delivered the story very faithfully to the original. In both, the scene is set in a highly detailed manner. Subject to subject transitions provide the reader/viewer a well-established sense of the space in which the plot begins. In the story, these are written. In the film, these take the form of long opening shots. Starting wide and narrowing in, they take the scene from large and open to right on the man about to be hanged.

The largest difference between film and story comes in the second section of Bierce’s original. This background section is omitted from the film entirely, which is a suitable translation. In it, we get a flashback to our main character relaxing with his wife and talking with a soldier about the Yankees repairing the railroads nearby. This is fitting because it leaves the short film to be about a particular moment, opening it up to more imaginative viewing. If the background scene were to be included, it would take away the mystery enveloping the scene. It would also feel much less like an episode of The Twilight Zone. 

The final section of the story is similar to the first in its presentation. Sticking much more to the source material, we get slow shots at first, but as the man realizes his situation of being hanged and drowned, the shots speed up with his panic. And like the original, the realization that he’s been in a dream-like flash before his eyes comes suddenly.

Visual Storytelling

These pictures tell the story of getting ready to practice piano or have a lesson. The first three transitions are aspect to aspect, serving as a means to set the scene and establish the mood. The last two transitions are action to action, showing the logical progression of steps taken to start practicing.