NarraScope is a new games conference that supports interactive narrative, adventure games, and interactive fiction by bringing together writers, developers, and players. Its first edition took place from June 14th-16th in Boston at MIT.

Keynote: Shaping your story with Emotional Intelligence

The conference was kicked off by Natalia Martinsson of Killmonday Games with the keynote talk “Shaping your story with Emotional Intelligence”. The talk offers a very personal insight into Natalia’s use of her personal experiences to create better stories for her games and sheds a light on how others can use her methods.

What Digital Storygames Can Learn From Analog Storygames

Our string of recordings continues with the talk “What Digital Storygames can learn from Analog Storygames” by Aaron A. Reed. Aaron has been creating interactive stories for over a decade, focusing on finding new ways for authors and players to collaborate. In this talk he breaks down what makes a storygame and identifies four core activities for collaborative storygames, drawing out lessons for makers of digital games.

Designing Games That Listen

This next talk is given to us by video game writer and narrative designer David Kuelz. Currently David is working on the game Starship Commander, a VR game controlled entirely by voice. David shared with us a “mid-mortem” showcasing the technology used in the game and how it impacts the storytelling.

How “Save the Cat” Can Save Your Game

Amanda Gardner is an experienced author with multiple published books and the co-founder & narrative director of The Deep End Games. In her talk, Amanda shows how the beat sheet method from Blake Synder’s “Save the Cat” can be used on any kind of story, not just screenplays. And because one talk is not enough, she throws in a micro-talk about how to best harness this creative energy.

Location Based Gaming: Writing for the Real World

Geocaching has been around for some time, and new experiences like Pokemon Go, or ZombieRun entered the location-based game market bringing it more into the spotlight. Austin Auclair‘s talk “Location-Based Gaming: Writing for the Real World” covers available tools, what to consider when creating a location-based experience and more.

How Dialogue Systems Make or Break Player Engagement

Our next talk is presented by Articy’s very own CPO, Julius Kuschke who draws our attention to the increasing importance of dialogue systems in games. In his talk “How Dialogue Systems Make or Break Player Engagement”, Julius takes us on a journey 30 years back when the first interactive dialogues were created and compares them to how they look in the games of today. He identifies four main criteria to depict the quality of good dialogue and presents examples for each.

Engineering Empathy. Getting the Player to Care

Dave Gilbert founder of Wadjet Eye Games talks about the importance of invoking empathy using examples from Technobabylon, the Blackwell series and his new game Unavowed. Players won’t feel invested in a game or even a scene if they’re not don’t care enough for the characters. In his talkd, David brings about very useful tips on how to get to that sweetspot of emotional investment not only for the players but also for the writer.

Making Horror. Hacking the Player’s Brain!

Industry veteran and founder of Talespinners , Ian Thomas talks about inducing emotions, using the power of suggestion and shows how to closely connect player and character in a game and how to use player’s brain to create horror and other emotions in videogames, LARP, and theatre.

Worldbuilding Out of Bounds

So many untold stories get stuck behind the statement “it’s not my story to tell”. Game designer, writer, editor and founder of Paperback Studio , Jess Haskin challenges small developers to create more diverse work by depicting a broader range of representation in gameworlds, and collectively, by making new games different. In this talk she uses examples from her own work to show how to construct thoughtful worlds from the foundation up and create stories that respectfully depict or reflect diverse cultures and identities, with tips on how to do proper research and how to avoid pitfalls.

Dissecting the Bandersnatch With a Vorpal Blade: What Netflix’s Choose Your Own Adventure Got Right and Got Wrong

We’re ending our series of recorded talks with the panel discussion analyzing Bandersnatch. Heather Albano , Mary Duffy , Jason Stevan Hill , Emily Short and Ian Thomas discuss Netflix’s first venture into the world of interactive television with Bandersnatch, the Black Mirror episode that let viewers influence the story in a choose-your-path adventure kind of way. What was good, where did it fall flat, how would experienced game designers have tackled this kind of project? But beware, there will be spoilers!

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