Story And Games

Brayden Sathrum


DTC 354

I enjoy playing many narrative games, but one of my favorites is Spiritfarer. In it, you are a young girl with her cat who are chosen to be ferrymasters that find spirits and fulfill their final wishes, eventually taking them to the afterlife. Spiritfarer has a relaxing atmosphere despite the narrative and is often defined as a “cozy” game. A part of the management genre, the goals revolve around building up your boat with new rooms, collecting resources, exploring islands, and fulfilling quests. Besides mini-games, there are no time-sensitive tasks and no way to get a game over. The music and art style are soft and playful, adding to the peaceful ambience.

The plotline mainly comes from the spirits that you meet and bring onto your boat as you travel. Each one is a different animal with their own unique personality and backstory that you learn about as you complete quests for them. The conflicts in the story are minimal or have occurred in the past and are explored through dialogue. Every island adds lore to the spirit world and creates a more immersive experience. In these ways, the mechanics help drive the storyline forward. However, the game itself hinges on the plot and characters, as it is the reason behind all of the tasks you must complete.

I think Spiritfarer is a strong example of weaving storytelling with gameplay. Both sides are intertwined and illustrate how video games can explore complex themes like death. Overall, I think Spiritfarer is a lesser known model of how a game can tell a strong story.

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