Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. I have a vague memory of taking out my board books before I knew how to read and copying the text on my mother’s typewriter. I also remember telling my mother when I was nine that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, and wrote my very first (terrible) short story (“Secret Lake”). As I grew up, I started writing as many stories, poems and novels as I started making games. When I got to college, I helped found my first college’s creative writing club (and was president for much of its existence). Then I went to the “big university” finally studying creative writing and something happened.
I really began to hate being taught creative writing. This was something I’d spent my whole life honing, and all I really got out of classes was more practice. The instructors wanted to push my writing towards social inquiry (being a witness) but I wanted to write what and how I wanted to write (and I still did, despite my instructors).
Something else happened at the big university. One day while I was on campus and had gotten all my classes together, I strolled through the bookshelves of the university bookstore. I whiled and wended my way through the English class shelves, just idly seeing what books other classes were teaching, when my eyes came across the book Rules of Play, by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman. There were other books about games too. I checked to see what class it was for: a graduate level class being taught by one Alice Robison (she is now Alice Daer). In a frantic, almost soul-driven rush, I went around asking various officials if I, an undergraduate, could take a graduate level class. I got conflicting answers but one prevailed: if the system lets you do it, then you can do it. So I went in, swapped out some random class I didn’t care about for this one. And the system let me.
This class, along with another I took the same semester (Experimental Narrative by Dan Gilfillan) changed my life. People say that a lot, “[This thing] changed my life.” For me it is true. Never before had I thought that I could research and study games at school and be accepted for what I was doing. But there it was, in those two classes, the introduction to this life that I now lead.
This area is for my writing journey. Now that I am in my master’s program writing about games and designing some, I’ve decided to give away a number of things I have written. For now, it will just be my academic writing, but if there is any interest I may put up some of my creative writing.
- Interweaving Narrative Structures in Ludic Environments [Text]
- My first foray into academic writing about videogames. A definition paper about various forms of game that closely mix narrative.
- Neighbors Process [Text]
- A writeup on the process of making Neighbors, which accompanied the game as a final project for a class.
- Ghost-Zombie-Demon-Undead Adventure Games [Text]
- Another definition paper about what an adventure game is and what adventure games can do to get back into the market. I currently disagree with this.
- From Narrative to Game [Text]
- An update to the 2008 paper which looks instead at game forms with varying levels of narrative. This was my admissions essay and I feel it is trumped by my more recent work.
- Book Chapter
- About player personality and game classification. Details when everything is ready for it.
- Narrative Paper
- About player actions as narrative actions. Still shopping this around.