Storysense is not unique to games. Marketing stories, poems, some albums such as Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds, music videos, Disneyland rides and films like Koyaanisqatsi are all examples of works that have great storysense. They convey the feeling of a story, glimpses of key moments, develop a theme and a metaphor. Like impressionism compared to formal painting, they hint rather than show or tell.
Storysense is different to storytelling. Plot and character development are creative constants of dramatic narrative, but videogames are not a dramatic art form. Plot doesn’t really matter, nor character development. The player does not have to be told who her doll is or what she is supposed to feel. There are no acts, and the motivations of enemies don’t really have to be explained.
Techniques of storysense revolve around portraying a world in motion. Short cut scenes that set tasks, scrolls and other discoverable items, user interface elements, alongside dialogue and incidentals are all key tools. The idea is to keep the player on the move, interested in the world while at the same time fascinated by the play.
- Alongside Dialogue
- Living Gallery
- Marketing Story
- Player Character