If you’ve ever wondered exactly how video game development works, this may be a good place to start. Extra Credits is an online series that centers around games, how they work, and the sub-culture that goes along with them. In particular, they have a nice number of videos on writing for games and what that entails.
The videos are simply animated and essentially feature one guy chatting on a given topic, with the aid of images and useful example graphics. They are nicely informative little pieces and not too dependent on examples from video game that you have to have played to understand. If you have played all the games mentioned, all the better for you. But because the content pertains to how games work as a medium, you don’t have to be a gamer to appreciate it. Anybody who is a writer, or just a general fan of narrative in a pop culture format, will find these worth checking out.
The first video is just an introduction to the topic of narrative in gaming. It explains what a writer needs to do and how this form of medium is fundamentally different from its forerunners. It also points out that the mechanics of a game, as well as the art and design aspects, are all pieces of the story and need to be addressed by the design team and the writer. Some of it might be something you already know, but it’s good to be reminded.
Extra Credits: “Bad Writing”
The other videos branch out and address more specific topics, like the “Illusion of Choice” in games.
…and the more basic storytelling elements, such as “The Hero’s Journey”.
They’re all bite-sized and relay useful info in a smart, fun way. So, if you have the interest, definitely check them out!
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