Narrative Design Reading (And Watching) List
A list of continually updated recommendations for books, videos, blogs and more on narrative design and writing interactive fiction
Playful Narrative: A Toolbox for Story-Rich Mechanics, Polaris Game Design Retreat 2022 white paper (contributing author, direct link)
“The relationship between game mechanics and storytelling in games is an avenue of interactive storytelling with a great depth of potential to create meaningful, reciprocal relationships. The “Playful Narrative: A Toolbox for Story-Rich Mechanics” report digs into some lenses and thought experiments to encourage ways of reframing traditional game mechanics into narrative devices to deepen the ways in which we tell stories in video games.”
How to Get a Job as a Games Writer, Game Industry Biz Academy (interviewed, direct link)
“Finding a job in the games industry is no easy task. Our guides can help you to find the right path to the games industry job of your dreams.“
Everlasting Narrative: Developing a Rulebook for the Theory and Practice for Creating Never-Ending Narrative in Games, Project Horseshoe 2019 white paper (contributing author, direct link)
“With the growing dominance of free-to-play games, and games-as-a-service, more and more games are meant to be played for years instead of hours. But classic storytelling techniques are difficult to implement and maintain in live games. We set out to catalog the best practices for delivering story for a game that never ends.“
Game Narrative Resources
Telling Story Through Gameplay, GamesIndustry.Biz Academy (author, director link)
“In a case study looking at Grindstone, Kaitlin Tremblay explains what it means to tell stories in games that look like they may not have a lot of space for narrative”
Storytelling with Verbs: Integrating Gameplay and Narrative, GDC 2020 (speaker, direct link)
“In this 2020 GDC Virtual Talk, Capybara Games’ Kaitlin Tremblay discusses the inherent fiction behind our most common gameplay verbs, such as shooting, talking, deciphering (puzzle solving), hacking, etc., with specific examples from games in AAA, indie, mobile, ARGs, and escape rooms, and with a special eye toward how this becomes even more imperative in collaborative or competitive game spaces.“
The Daily Grind Dev Diary: An In-Depth Retrospective on Grindstone’s Ranked Leaderboard Mode, Capybara Games (author, direct link)
“With the launch of the third Daily Grind leaderboard mode, we wanted to take some time to write up a bit of the process and design intent behind all three Daily Grind modes, with a special focus on the latest one, Fortune Grind!“
Design Post-Mortem on Helgä’s Slöp Höuse, Capybara Games (author, direct link)
“At the launch of the Slöp Höuse update, the Grindstone team wanted to take some time and talk through the design process behind the creation of Helgä’s Slöp Höuse, the first fully brand new progression loop introduced to Grindstone since the game’s initial launch.“
Blog Posts (About Games)
Games About Throwing Lil Creatures at Bigger Creatures
A short blog post abut how Kena; Bridge of Spirts and The Wild At Heart use the Pikmin mechanic differently to reinforce character.
Games About Delivering Packages
A short blog post about how Death Stranding and Lake use delivery mechanics for two very different stories.
Games About Packing and Unpacking Boxes
A short blog post about how Unpacking and Last Call use the same mechanic to tell very different stories.
Small Thoughts on a Big Decade
A retrospective so far on my career in games.
Create a New Passage: Why I Chose Gamemaking to Tell Stories about Healing
A transcript of my IndieCade East 2016 talk, about why I started making games (cw: mental illness, eating disorders)
On Guest Editing Ontological Geek’s Mental Health in Games Month
Some thoughts on editing the Mental Health in Games month at the Ontological Geek.