Overlap - Investigations in new and forgotten storytelling

Secret Agents and Their Challenging Narratives

Thanks to all who came down to Overlap Season 0, Episode 2 at Brezza earlier this month.

I hope you all had a good time, I certainly did and it was great to see the responses to my game-making challenge (a selection can be seen in the image above). With ideas ranging from multiple personality issues to blind brothers in love (with each other) it was certainly an interesting look into stories that tell complex stories, but remember to keep the player engaged.

I’ve edited down a half hour segment of the talk, which carries up until I started what turned into the gargantuan activity session that lasted for about another half hour.

The Secret Agent Talk by Russell Stearman

I like to keep a tab on my examples so below is a run-down of the references used in the speech, why I used them and how to get hold of some of the rarer ones.

How Did That Get Up There? – Robot/Lizard’s new game with a story by Tim Cooper and myself. To be released on December 15th from the Adult Swim US site.  We hope you like it!

Fawlty Towers Series 1, Episode 6, The Germans An example of typical British sitcom, and very funny too. Available from Amazon or iTunes.

Call of Duty: Black Ops – My example of a player gratifying narrative.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – A great Western with a great ending.

Red Dead Redemption – A great Western game, and one that takes the caveats of games and tries to tell a good story.

No Country For Old Men – It’s fast becoming a staple of Overlap talks to include a Coen Brothers reference, and this would be damn hard to turn into a good game.

Deus Ex – A true classic, which is why they periodically make sequels so they can hark back to the original. Currently available in a double pack with it’s less-well received sequel.

Blade Runner – Highly recommended game for both lovers of the film, and those seeking to play a game which tries to play on you. Looks a bit dated now and none of the digital distributors seem to offer it. Ebay seems to be the best bet.

The Last Express – Highly praised game that is truely innovative, and also cost an absolute bomb to make. Please do give this game a proper try, it’s enjoying something of a renaissance, being available on both Good Old Games and DotEmu.

North By Northwest – A Hitchcock classic that deserves to be seen by everyone. It has a great story and really sets the mould for chase thrillers. Also has groovy opening titles.

Bejewelled Blitz – Only really included as a non-narrative game, see Facebook for more!

Not explicitly mentioned in the talk but also worth looking at is Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck. It’s rather old now and the examples don’t quite live up to her claims, but offers an insight into interactive narrative.

Hope to see you all at the next event soon!

Russell

Category: Events, Videogames

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