My initial idea for a session revolves around how games tell a story, using a prominent recent example:
“While Sony/Quantic Dream’s 2010 game Heavy Rain has been rightly praised as offering a unique and engrossing narrative experience, any attempt to consider the game as an exemplar of rich interactive narrative must face certain problems of genre and the location of the narrative “eye.” While the game seems to unfold from a third-person objective viewpoint, the events of the game throw the objectivity of that viewpoint into question in ways that can shed light on both the problems and opportunities of mass-audience single-player interactive narrative.”
I love the idea of a session with some live gameplay, but I’m worried about the single-player-ish-ness of the planned topic. One some level, I think this grows out of a literary narrative background–and if anyone is interested, might be a second major quality of the topic to push back on. My initial proposal focuses on what the player “sees” when s/he plays a game, and what happens when what you see is NOT what you get. But it might be just as interesting (and even more productive), to build something around whether games built around a single-player experience still have rich experiences to offer, or whether Heavy Rain’s self-conscious “auteur” mode of construction, where the player is guided through someone else’s vision of a story, is the last gasp of old narrative/old media values and philosophy.
I’m deeply eager for feedback and ideas. Thanks. 🙂