In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide
, Jordi Fine, a Bachelor student in Media/Multimedia, interprets the Hero's Journey into gameplay storytelling and re-envisions the "Gamer's Journey" by analyzing The Secret of Monkey Island
In this excerpt, Fine says that understanding the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey sheds light on the past and future of interactive storytelling itself:
"We are at a defining moment in the history of the games industry. The industry needs out-of-the-box thinkers and theorists to come up with new ways of crafting interactive experiences... Just as much as we need programmers and artists. We need our Will Wrights, and we need our John Carmacks. Without constantly striving to expand and stretch the boundaries of game design, the industry is at risk of reaching a plateau.
Games needn't be restricted to narrow definitions tailored to fit those already out there. Genres such as RPG and RTS carry conventions. Whilst genre conventions certainly serve a purpose, what makes a game unique is when it transcends the traditional formulae and breaks away from the mould. The most memorable games are often those that define new genres and experiences.
Interactivity and choice are key factors which differentiate games from films and novels. By exploring the relevance of the Hero's Journey in the world of games, I wish to better my own understanding of where the games medium has come from... and where it is heading. Just how exactly have games subverted the traditional principles of storytelling? I cannot claim to have a single definitive answer. I can only look at several key examples of narrative in games, exploring how they have succeeded in tweaking the Hero's Journey to fit the medium. Most notably, I will be analysing the ways in which The Secret of Monkey Island utilises the Hero's Journey as a basic narrative framework."
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
with Fine's investigation of the Hero's Journey as applied in LucasArts' The Secret of Monkey Island
(no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).