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Joeseph Hall

Final Project

In this Visual Narrative I wanted to show a story of taking heroic action being the wrong choice, how sometimes the best thing to do is to calm down and wait. I like making visual media and am trying to work on my style as an artist, this project went a long ways towards that development and parts of it are some of my best work while other parts are some of my weakest. I would also consider this a piece of Hypermedia since the piece requires user interaction to progress and change some frames. I put a lot of thought into how the scenes transition from one to another and about what the best symbol for the interactions and visual style of the talk-bubbles would be. Doing this project taught me new drawing styles and new tools within Photoshop, so I would call it a success from that viewpoint.



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Hypermedia Narrative


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Story and Games

My most favorite narrative game would be Majora’s Mask, this entry in the Legend of Zelda series is the most off-mold of the titles. Link has arrived in the land of Termina and it is going to be destroyed in 3 in game days, which to the player takes 54 minutes. Obviously you cannot save the world in under an hour so you are given the power to reset time, and with it the entirety of the world. Your money, your arrows, your actions, your progress, is all reset except for a few key items, but most importantly your knowledge is NOT reset. After a number of time loops you start to learn the inhabitants’ routines, schedules, hopes and dreams, and that is the most important aspect of the game to me. The game isn’t really about saving the world and being the hero, it’s about getting to know the people and learn that everyone has problems and everyone reacts to the end of the world differently. Every time you reset the loop everyone will forget you, even the dungeons will reset, so you need to figure out what you need to do to gain the power to save these people. However, not everyone CAN be saved. There are multiple people you interact with who are going to die or have already died. This game is considered to be the most adult Zelda game there has been, there are multiple instances of characters with depression, kidnappings, alien abduction, and abandonment. The aspect of the time-loop introduces something no other game I’ve played does, a sense of futility. Everyone you help, or hurt, will forget you. I would argue that the strategic gameplay drives the narrative in this case, you have to prioritize what you will do, where you will go, who you will help, each loop to create progress in the game. Each major location in the game is dealing with some sort of tragedy in their own way, in the jungle monkeys have kidnapped a princess, the rock-people are waiting for their elder to save them (who you have found frozen solid) from an eternal winter, the fish-people have had their young stolen, and the canyon area is experiencing the dead rising. The most important though is the hub town, here everyone is dealing with the impending apocalypse in their own way, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and on the last day acceptance. The game is really about how people deal with grief, and how everyone experiences it differently. This game may be my favorite game of all time.

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Symbol, Index & Icon

Book From the Ground:
From Point to Point

This story is very unique and could likely be read by any modern human. By bypassing the use of symbols in their story they create a work that doesn’t require the convention of written or spoken language. The text is primarily Icons with indexes showing actions taken. It’s very surprising how easy it is to read when it initially looks overwhelming with the amount of information shown, however when you think about it using words you could cram a lot more information into a smaller space. This leads me to believe that icons have the most information stored in the image while symbols have the most information stored in the human mind. An icon tells you more about its subject, indexes and symbols are used to spark the information stored in your brain about the subject.

I think if I want more control over what the user knows while experiencing my works or to be available to a wider audience I should use more icons, they need less outside knowledge to interpret and in the case of letters and words the user would need to know the language. Icons are more universal and anything with eyes can correlate an icon with its physical counterpart. I can use various icons to convey meaning like maybe blue bubbles to stand in for an oxygen readout, or a sign with a bed on it to denote an inn.


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Hypertext and Hypermedia

Yes, the computer has changed storytelling. However focusing on hypermedia, the popularity is lackluster. I believe a major problem that was only recently solved was that the most popular hypertext program was only compatible with Apple. With the creation of Twine hypermedia can now have a larger creator base, leading to more content that can potentially reach more users.

The best kind of stories that work with hypermedia are ones where the author wants the user to find the story, traditional stories can work but they are kind of clunky in their presentation.

“My Boyfriend Came Back from the War”
The navigation and eventual division of the screenspace was very interesting and was most interesting part of this work. There was definitely plot but any character development was lost in the medium. I couldn’t tell the chronological order of events except that the center division of the screen became the war events.

“How to Rob a Bank”
This was more directly a traditional story and was very linear. The use of showing the searches was a good way of showing us what the character was thinking about. I also enjoyed being able to use the arrow keys to transition forward and backward through the narrative.

“With Those We Love Alive”
This story is the type of story that I believe works best in a hypertext format. You can make choices to explore the environment and learn about the world somewhat organically. I especially liked the ability to influence the details of the story but that interaction wasn’t well explained.

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Cinema Language

“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” is over 120 years old and still tells a good science fiction story. Each version tells its story effectively, but the video tells it more efficiently. The written story gives more background about Peyton Farquhar and his motivations along with an account of his intended crime, but these are not actually relevant to the story being told. We simply need to know that he was convicted of a crime and has a desire to return to his family, nothing else revealed about his character becomes relevant in the events of his escape. Nothing about his plantationing or his political views or sympathies to the South, in fact he could have been a factory worker from the North and the story wouldn’t change in the slightest. The only background information that is important to the story we are given in the establishing shots of the video, there’s a crime and Peyton is being executed. Aside from the history of Peyton the two stories mirror each other very closely. And for a video based on a written story it does a great job of being faithful to the original. The video shows each scene happening as the story has told it, the driftwood slowly flowing downstream, the ticking of the watch growing louder and digging into his mind, and making sure to note his injured hand when he made it to shore. The video even does well conveying each indication that what we’re seeing is not what is real, adding in each breadcrumb, confusing runaway scenes, suddenly manifested injuries, fantastical landscape, and the run to his wife that seemed to always be farther away than it should have been.

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Visual Narrative II

I tell the FICTIONAL story of my dog finding the front door open and going on a walk to the park. I use Scene to Scene transitions to tell the story of his choices taking him to the park and home. It shows him in new locations and the reader assumes that he traveled from one location to the next. I don’t need to show him traveling because the reader’s closure bridges that narrative gap for me.

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Visual Narrative I

McCloud makes a few points that I take into my own work. First is that what is on the “page” is not the thing, it is at best 2 existences away from the thing. It is a symbol that is either digitally or physically being given to the user. This means that there is a lot of leeway in what that represented symbol can mean to the user. showing someone a picture of an Orange can elicit different understandings than just showing them a physical Orange. You wont get all of the sensory input, especially depending on the limitations of your medium. However you can have more control in their perception of the subject. You can control the environment, the tone, and potential extra knowledge about the subject.

Another point he talks about is how a user sequentially experiences your work. Different cultures read in opposite directions, and when you give your work to an audience you have to know how they are going to perceive it. I usually try to give my work multiple angles to perceive it from, if a visual work, create different meaning depending on the visual hierarchy the user uses. I find it fun to create interactive experiences and imagine that some users will find fun puzzling out different meanings or stories from them.

The final point I take away is the importance of what transitions you choose to use in your work. Each one brings different experiences, some can slow the reading down to create tension or give more information by overviewing an environment. It was also interesting seeing the difference the direct constraints of a medium and the cultural expectations created in the use of transitions. Where episodic comics that sell chapters at a time used more time saving transitions as opposed to manga which are usually sold a book at time taking more time and giving more aspects of a scene.

The touch on object permanence(closure) was really fun to read about in a literary sense. Even in someplace like videogame design this can apply since unperceived assets are usually not loaded but you still need to have a user think the whole world is there.

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5 Story Summaries


The story begins on a space station. A new experiment is about to begin, one that could change the course of human history. The experiment involves harnessing the power of a black hole to provide unlimited energy to Earth. As the experiment begins, something goes wrong and the station is thrown into chaos. The black hole’s gravitational pull becomes unstable, threatening to destroy the station and everyone on it.

They discover that the experiment has created a rip in the fabric of space-time, which is causing the instability. With time running out, the team must find a way to fix the rip and stabilize the black hole’s gravitational pull before it’s too late. They discover sabotage from a rival organization and that someone among them is not who they seem to be.

The team finally succeeds in stabilizing the black hole and fixing the rip, but at a great cost. One member sacrifices their life to save the rest, and the station is left severely damaged.

The team returns to Earth with new knowledge and a newfound appreciation for the dangers and responsibilities that come with harnessing the power of the universe. They vow to use their newfound knowledge for the betterment of humanity.

[Utilized ChatGPT]



A man wakes up and goes downstairs of his home, he is looking for breakfast but his refrigerator is empty. We follow him as he takes his fishing pole down to the ocean dock and begins fishing. A mermaid appears and asks him questions about the dry world. Cut to the fisherman eating a large cut of fish for dinner and being content with his catch.



  1. Takes place in a fantasy world beginning to experience industrial revolution, there are fantasy races and magic but humans and technology are beginning to supplant both. Esmund is a young paladin in training and has been sent to the city Norwood to get practical experience protecting people. He reports to the city magistrate, Fremont, an older man who oversees the city’s administration and whom is a veteran of an older war and is very protective of his people. Esmund is sent to investigate reports of a group of raiders gathering at a nearby abandoned quarry. He leaves the city and heads out, when night falls, he uses a small fire spell to light a fire and soon encounters a group of people who explain that they have heard of work being available at the quarry and that raider story was only rumor, Esmund decides that it is safest to accompany them to the quarry and survey the situation himself. When they get to the outskirts of the quarry many campsites can be seen but no mining is taking place, as Esmund turns to warn the group he is knocked unconscious by one of the men with a tree branch.
  2. Esmund wakes in a wooden cage without his armor, he is alone in his cage but a few others nearby seem to have families in them. He spends some time talking with the nearest group and learns that they’ve been captured for a week and that they are kidnapping people from surrounding homesteads to ransom back to the city. Esmund uses the fire spell to burn away at the back of his cage and starts to try and free the other captives, after freeing one family a guard comes by and calls out to others to stop them resulting in a fight breaking out and one of the family members being killed. The remaining escapees are overpowered and Esmund is bound and gagged and put in another cage where the body of the family member is left with him to remind him not to try and escape again. After dark one of the guards wakes him setting him free, explaining he is a guard from the city infiltrating the raiders. He gives Esmund a letter for Fremont and gets him to the nearby treeline warning him that he won’t have much of a lead so to hurry and get reinforcements.
  3. Esmund is waiting in Fremont’s office after getting his guards to let him into the mansion and sending them to get him. He notices many books about the nature of the gods and how the older races had communicated with them. When Fremont arrives Esmund gives him the letter from the guard and begins recounting what happened at the quarry. Fremont tells him he was a fool for thinking he could free the captives on his own but that he is glad such a good hearted person exists. Fremont calls in his captains and they begin to plan how to attack the quarry. Esmund is part of a small group sent ahead to track the raiders in case they decided to relocate since his escape, when they arrive only a fraction of the raiders are at the quarry and are easily overtaken, the prisoners explain that the rest had moved upon the city. Upon returning the group finds the remains of a battle near the city and celebration within, the raiders had attacked when the guard was already assembled and were easily defeated with many captives being taken.
  4. Esmund is celebrating his first successful mission and begins looking for the family that he had tried to help escape when he was captive. Talking to the citizens he can’t find any mention of the families that were taken for ransom. He urgently rushes to Fremont’s mansion to explain that the families may still be being held captive in the wilderness. The guards refuse to let him enter and tell him to meet him tomorrow at his town offices. Esmund is furious and decides to try and sneak in after dark remembering that it’s easier to be unnoticed in the shadows. That night Esmund is able to get near the estate and find his way in the servants’ entrance, he makes his way towards the office but waits outside the door when he hears voices within speaking about how the dungeons are bursting with supplies and the spectacle of the battle was good enough of a distraction. Esmund starts to retrace his way back out of the mansion but runs into a servant who starts calling for guards. Esmund escapes before being caught and decides to head to the city dungeons hoping to investigate before a warning can be sent about his snooping.


Surrealist or fantastical.

A person falls asleep at a campfire and is taken into a dreamworld. They wake in a forest of upside down trees whose roots reach high into the sky, wandering further brings them to a creek of flowing light with droplets occasionally floating up and off into the sky to become the stars, they wonder what the light would taste like but decide it best not to drink away the stars. Finally, the character comes to their campsite, but it is surrounded by different doors, opening each one shows different memories of the character’s life. They hesitate to enter any, scared to become trapped, instead they return to their sleeping bag and try to dream their way back to the waking world.



A family must return to a city in California where each generation grew up. A day long drive in a cramped car with much nervous energy, they are finalizing adoption and they will legally be a real family. The parents experience constant anxiety and fear of encountering the biological parents of their children at every stop in the city. They had moved away to escape. The special day arrives and after scrutinizing every stranger that passes by, they are ushered into the courtroom and are given legal family status, they return home and celebrate with cake.

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Diagrammatic Storytelling

The plot of “Great Rock n’Roll Pauses” is about a family existing together, and how the daughter perceives everyone’s interactions. I would say the main conflict comes from learning to relate to an autistic family member or a dad that’s not often home. Everyone finds their own way to relate to each other and this makes the story relatable, each person in the story adapts differently and acts human. The diagrammatic nature is effective in conveying a child’s view of family interactions because it shows how each part of something is as important as the whole, and depending on how you read it different views and meanings can come to light. The graphs at the end of the narrative are great at showing that the dad found a way to engage with his son and created a commonality. It does a great job of showing, not telling, as the main character points out earlier that “charts should illuminate, not complicate.”

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Narrative Traditions II

I explored “She and Her Cat” and “160 Characters.” They both explore living a “mundane” life, and so are relatable to any viewer. This is what makes them effective, Aristotle talked about how a story needs to be relatable. These stories explore mundane events and scenes but when these are strung together they create a relatable narrative, they could be anyone’s life, they could be yours. The conflict isn’t explicit or explored because you inject your own experience of living into the story, you know what conflict and struggles are included in living a mundane life so having a relatable story comes with its implied conflict. The cat story is a nice exploration of an outside view into human existence, the cat relates a superficial view of what living alone feels like, with the repetition of daily life punctuated by unexpected events but leaves the particulars for your experiences to fill in.

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Narrative Traditions I

Fargo I think is unique in that it is told largely from the bad-guys’ point of view, Jerry and Carl. In this sense the protagonists are bad-guys and the antagonists are the good-guys. You are given insights and scenes of Marge and Wade but these are only to create plausible obstacles to the protagonists. The plot begins before the contents of the movie when Jerry sets up a meeting to discuss his plan of kidnapping his wife. But as soon as the fourth line we are shown that Jerry is not in control and that other characters will challenge him. This movie is not a tragedy in Aristotle’s sense, these characters are not better than common man, everyone is flawed, even the moral center of the film Marge takes time to reconnect with an old boyfriend when she is married, therefore Fargo is a Comedy that follows tragedian conventions.

“Comedy is, as we have said, an imitation of characters of a lower type, – not, however, in the full sense of the word bad…”

The characters’ situations all lead from good to worse except for Marge’s which remains the same. Each character’s reactions to each event follows their established character well, and Jerry and Carl show their losing of control by becoming more erratic. Even Wade’s choice to replace Jerry at the meeting shows that he is used to being in control and his choices leading to the best outcomes, and that bringing a gun shows that he plans for the worst.

“As in the structure of the plot, so too in the portraiture of character, the poet should always aim either at the necessary or the probable. Thus a person of a given character should speak or act in a given way, by the rule either of necessity or of probability;”

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Joeseph Hall Introduction

Joeseph Hall Avatar

I enjoy Cartoons and Videogames, I find they can be a less judgemental view of the modern world and can help highlight troubling events. But I am here at WSU to gain a better understanding of Videogame Design. I think Videogames can be the natural evolution of storytelling, allowing the user to explore and interact with a narrative on their own terms. Some popular games tell very compelling stories but what I love are the open unguided games, worlds where you find and make your own stories, the best examples of these in my opinion would be Minecraft and Rimworld. The first being a semi-fantasy open sandbox world and the other being a colony survival game set in the far future with an AI driven event system. Out of the box both of the games are great, each having earned over $100 Million, but the real value comes from the player made modifications available for them. The mods are encouraged by the developers and have even become features of the primary games’ themselves. The ability for people to add new content constantly evolves what the games are able to give the user. I want to create games that allow people to explore their own stories.

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