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Challenges for Game Designers by Brenda Brathwaite, Ian Schreiber

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Chapter 13. Designing a Game to Tell a Story

In a sense, all games tell a story, even if that story is emergent and develops as a result of the player’s actions in the game. Stories of sports victories are told nightly on the evening news, and increasingly, fans of sports have turned players themselves, relating successes in Madden and Tiger Woods Golf to their friends. These are stories, too.

When designers create a game to tell a specific story, however, it’s a different matter, and a challenging one. Many newly minted designers have grand plans to tell epic stories in their games, but they forget the most important feature of all—games are about players making meaningful choices that affect the outcome of the game. If the “game” is only about ...

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