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Interactive Storytelling for Video Games: A Player-Centered Approach to Creating Memorable Characters and Stories Paperback – March 1, 2011
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Lebowitz and Klug's tag-team approach to the subject makes this an engaging read, even for seasoned interactive storytellers. The combination of Lebowitz's theory and Klug's field experience present both new and experienced game writers with both the promises, and the challnges, of experimenting with game narratives. The use of diverse case studies, which cover everything from the classic Final Fantasy VII to the Japanese visual novel genre, provide readers with the opportunity to engage Lebowitz and Klug's ideas and inspire innovation in their own writing. The exercises and questions both guide readers through the key points, and encourage application and exploration, perfect for a classroom setting.
-Kathleen Dunley, Faculty Chair-English, Rio Salado College
Top Customer Reviews
What you can do with this book is read it as a good summary of the different popular video games of 2010-11. The authors do a comparative analysis at the plot level. Accompanied by extensive explanations of how to classify games.
But you can see important differences with writing screenplays. In some video games, you can have multiple endings, that depend on how the player does. And of course, a game is an interactive process. Quite unlike watching a play or film. This ability to branch a story into several lines, and perhaps have some merge if the player does certain tasks, can be a fascinating challenge to storyboard and master. The book is quite candid about the potential weaknesses of the approach. Which is one of its strengths. It offers a clear eyed study of the potential and pitfalls of current gaming.
Still, if you are able to follow its advice, you can carve out an intricate mesh of a story to entrance your players.
Yes, you can be the puppet master!
The authors go into open-ended and multiple ending stories and the sstrengths and weakenesses of each as well as the considerations of storylines that are based upon the skill level of the gamer. The authors talk about what it is that gamers want and how to develop effective game stories that companies and players want to see. There are many games that are mentioned and with extensive screenshots of example games. I was rather disappointed that Assasin's Creed, which is probably one of the top games with an incredible amount of detail, gameplay, in depth storyline based in history was not mentioned except in the appendix.
This is a completely new area of writing for me, but coming out of Focal Press, it was definitely a title and a method of storytelling that intrigued me. I think this is a definite not-to-miss if someone is considering writing for the game industry. There are tons of resources of various companies and groups that cater to the need of gamers and game development teams
Which leads me to this book... I didn't order it so I could began writing my own video-game stories (at least not yet), but rather to get a better understanding of the challenges of writing such things, as well as taking an in depth look at some of the story lines in my favorite games. Not only did this book fulfill all those expectations, but also to my surprise was a really fun read! From the start I knew the author was a GAMER and not just some guy out to make a quick buck. All the examples and points he made were just right on. A great example is how disastrous multiple story arcs can be. It's a great idea in theory, and every now and then a game can pull it off (Heavy Rain), but most of the time it's just frustrating as hell (Final Fantasy X2). Also I thought it was neat how much of it I could apply to other, non-video things. For example, there is an entire break down of "the hero's journey", a story framework that's been used since the dawn of time in many novels, that I'm sure I can bust out on my next English paper in school. And for you tabletop RPG Game Masters out there, almost all the material within this book can be applied to your game.
If you're at all into the stories told into games, or need to write one for that matter, I would seriously give this book a read!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the things I liked about this book is it tended to cover the strength and weakness of the dichotomy of various game story types. Read morePublished on February 12, 2013 by Courtland J. Carpenter
Famous John Carmack quote goes like this: "Story in a game is like a story in [basketball/pornography/dance]. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important. Read morePublished on January 18, 2012 by Brian M. Ranzoni
Ever eat a turkey sandwich that could have used a little more mayo? This book was like that, kind of dry. Read morePublished on September 28, 2011 by Gordon M. Wagner
Haven't yet had a chance to read it cover to cover. But what I've read has been fun and informative and they seem to cover a great many aspects of interactive storytelling. Read morePublished on June 29, 2011 by Michael Gmirkin
Many authors have written about the programming, graphics and even physics of Interactive Gaming; there are few good books beside this one and Nick Montfort's "Twisty Little... Read morePublished on June 2, 2011 by Ira Laefsky
This excellent guide will help you understand what good storytelling in general is, as well as what makes storytelling for video games different from other forms of storytelling in... Read morePublished on June 1, 2011 by OnceMore
People love stories, and have loved them for as long as we have records - Homer told stories, the Bible is full of them, and other cultures have them too. Read morePublished on May 30, 2011 by Jessica Weissman
The author may say this book is about video games... but the truth is new media is such a vast continent... Read morePublished on May 26, 2011 by Paulo Leite
I've long been interested in the concept of how video games are written. How do you "write" something when the player can often affect the story as much as you can? Read morePublished on May 21, 2011 by Amazon Customer