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Creating stories for a composite form: Video game design as frame orchestration

Journal article
Authors Jonas Linderoth
Published in Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds
Volume 7
Issue 3
Pages 279-298
ISSN 1757-191X
Publisher Intellect Ltd.
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Pages 279-298
Language en
Keywords Composite form, Frame orchestration, Frame theory, Game design, Game development, Storytelling
Subject categories Educational Sciences


Storytelling in games in the early years of game studies was seen as being in conflict with gameplay. Departing from that debate, I argue that it is productive to see video games as a composite form supporting different frames for involvement. Against this backdrop the article reports an interview study with game developers, asking what it means to author stories for a composite form. The main results show that the developers do not see storytelling as the defining trait of video games, but as a component in a whole product. The developers display a specific gaze for how players shift their attention between frames. An important skill for the developers is to try to control these shifts in order to enforce the emotions they want the player to have. This specific skill is labelled framework orchestration. Stories are here but one of the tools the developers have at their disposal. © 2015 Intellect Ltd Article.

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