Engl 255 Term Paper

Although I would have enjoyed to create a twine game.
I had little time and no knowledge to create the type of game I wanted to produce.

Thus I wrote a paper about my favorite game series, Steins;Gate.
It is primarily a visual novel, basically a story with pictures, sounds and voice acting.
You proceed through the game reading the text and then deciding the choices.
Each choice will bring you to a different path to the story.

This game is available on the PlayStation Network as well as the sequel to this game.
They are both in English.
Steins;Gate : https://www.playstation.com/en-ca/games/steins-gate-psvita/
Steins;Gate 0 (sequel): https://www.playstation.com/en-ca/games/steins-gate-0-ps4/

The game is semi complex with the choice system.
Here is a link of the flowchart of the game.

I shall discuss how the visual novel follows the Hero’s Journey and contains theological aspects.

I included here a small teaser. You can see the cover art of the game as well as three different screenshots. Just to show how detailed the art is and the tone of the game too.

So here is a document of my paper.
Enjoy. And I hope you give this game a try.

Jovanovic Ryan Term Paper




Engl 255 Term Paper

Micro Essay 2

Ryan Jovanovic
Carolyn Jong
Week 11 March 24th Authorship and IP

At first, I was planning on discussing about interactive fiction with the articles by Nick Montfort and Porpentine. However after today’s class, I felt it was important to write about authorship and intellectual property with the article by Sarah Coleman and Nick Dyer-Witherford. Coleman and Dyer-Witherford discuss many aspects of the culture of videogames.

Firstly I will discuss one of the games that we have played called The Beginner’s Guide. At first when I played the game, I felt that I was not actually playing it but rather dragged along a series of short undeveloped games designed by a person known as Coda. The game is narrated by Davey Wreden who describes the games and Coda’s involvement of them. Wreden immediately starts off by stating that each of these games represents Coda and contains an encrypted secret about him. As I was progressing, Wreden starts to modify (or “hack”) into the games; thus giving them an ending.  Wreden believes that games must follow a strict set of rules and that Coda is diverging away from this path.  At the end of the game, Coda denounces Wreden due to his “hacking” of Coda’s games.

The term “hacker” has gone through various definitions. Coleman cites Leslie Haddon, a senior researcher in Media and Communications that the first definition of hacking is ‘a stylish technical innovation undertaken for the intrinsic pleasure … not necessarily to fulfill some more constructive goal’. This means that groups of enthusiastic people would find a different end for the use of a military computer which in time established a platform for gaming. Even today there are people who are fluent in Japanese and will create patches (a digital file which contains the translated text of the game) for these region blocked games.

Going back to Coda and his frustration against Wreden releasing Coda’s games to the public, I felt sympathy for Coda. When one releases their work to the public, it will earn both praises and scrutiny. For Coda’s case, he wants to avoid this dilemma where the critics would tear apart his creation to their expectation. It reminded me of the manga artist of Bleach where he had to be forced to change his series into something he did not want. First he started off having fun and creating something for himself. In order to obtain more fans, the editors forced him to alter his series. Thus it tragically ended his series and affected his mental health.

I have always loved the notion of “creating for the sake of it”. Coda follows this exact message. He creates games for himself because he enjoys it rather for the economic gain. Just like any other form of media such as poetry, painting or a journal, it is personal. It is an extension of you. You create it for you and not for others.


Work Cited

Bolloxedballs. YouTube. YouTube, 02 Oct. 2015. Web. 24 Mar. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DatJlgN8ZqE&gt;.

Coleman, Sarah and Nick Dyer-Witheford. “Playing on the digital commons: collectivities, capital and contestation in videogame culture.” Media Culture & Society 26.6 (2007): 934-953.

Haddon, L. (1988) ‘Electronic and Computer Games: The History of an Interactive Medium’, Screen 29(2): 52–73.< http://web.stanford.edu/class/sts145/Library/electronic.pdf&gt;.

The Beginner’s Guide (Davey Wreden 2015)

Micro Essay 2

Micro-Essay 1

Ryan Jovanovic
Week 3: January 27th Ludology vs. Narratology
Carolyn Jong

In his article, Jesper Juul pursues the debate that is do games tell stories.  Juul expands this debate by describing what narrative is. He states that we use narrative for everything, that narratives are present in introductions and back-stories in video games and that video games have similar aspects of narratives.

It has been recorded throughout time that we have used narrative through storytelling and writing. Narrative makes the object more interesting and appealing to the audience.  However when playing Tetris, the player does not see the story. Yet when playing Space Invaders, the player already jumps to the  conclusion that there are creatures from outer space invading our planet which we must attack.  Unfortunately we cannot save the world since another wave of aliens appear after each accomplished level. Juul denotes the saving of the world as the initial state. There are other games such as Half-Life where a player can complete the game. Both games possess different game elements. Half-Life is an action game with a strong emphasis of telling a story where as Space Invaders is an arcade game where the player plays until they lose.

The first game of the week was Every Day the Same Dream. In the game, the character being played goes through a cycle: getting dressed, saying good-bye to his emotionless wife, speaks to the elevator lady, getting stuck in traffic, abused by the boss and then goes to his desk.  This cycle repeats until the player does an event that breaks this pattern. The elevator lady gives a hint which is “5 more steps and you will be a new person”. As you do different actions,  the elevator will reduce the amount of steps until you reach the final conclusion which is witnessing someone else jumping off the building. This game does not inform the player about the character nor his wife or any other aspect of his life. Nevertheless we still get this feeling that a story is being told. It is told through the actions of the players. Due to these actions, the story can progress and achieve Juul’s initial state.

Going back to Tetris, we ask ourselves why it was so popular even though it does not contain any story or interactive characters. Well just like any other media such as books and films, the user (player) is always acting through the media.  We continue to play because the game rewards such as showing us our score by judging our gameplay. Moreover the sound of the game will increase as the speed of the blocks increase.  This is another method of the game talking to the player. In spin-offs such as Pokemon Puzzle League on the Nintendo 64, there is an image of the playable character (Ash) versus his opponent as you play Tetris. In these versions, the game uses the images to further establish the story.

Thus video games do tell a story. The player through their actions aids the game to tell the story. Even though two different types of game have different gameplay and elements, they both have a story. Numerous games contain narrative elements whether it’d be cut-scenes or narrative sequence.

Work Cited

  • Juul, Jesper. “Games Telling Stories? A Brief Note on Games and Narratives.”Game Studies 1.1 (July 2001).www.gamestudies.org/0101/juul-gts/
  • Every Day the Same Dream (Molleindustria 2009)
  • Pokemon Puzzle League (Nintendo 2000)
  • Tetris (Alexey Pajitnov 1984)
  • Taito: Space Invaders. 1977.
  • Valve Software: Half-life. Sierra 1998.
Micro-Essay 1

Showing versus Telling through Portal 1

Members of the group:
Kat B.
Ryan Jovanovic
Mathieu Lamontagne-Cumiford
Christopher Zambito
Julian Zambito

We decided to do a gameplay of Portal 1.
The link of the video: https://youtu.be/psYV2ZaQc3o (approximately 25 minutes)
The first segment of this post is the discussion questions.
The second segment of this post is the script of the gameplay.

Thesis statement:
Portal 1 is the embodiment of “showing” a storyline in a video game.

Discussion Questions:

How does portal accomplish storytelling without a direct narrative?

Portal uses recurring colour schemes and objects to build a world with a certain contained narrative. A narrative is left to the player to construct by putting together information from the environment, an unreliable narrator, and the cues left for puzzle solving in the world. Glados, the narrator, aids in building the narrative of portal, but is more of a character than narrator, and is unreliable due to frequent lies, duplicities, and downright lack of cooperation with the player character. Objects and colour palettes re-occur in the game world building a semiotic language through which the player interprets their surroundings. Puzzle solving cues are present in several different forms, such as the reoccurring white squares with simple comic style instructions.

How does the environment and one-way dialogue enable narrative?

Since the game uses very simple gameplay, and a mute protagonist, the narrative is entirely left up to the environment. Portal presents props and voice cues from Glados as its only form of narrative and world building. The test chambers are made to tell the story of a test subject, with observation rooms, cameras and the narrator glados. The emptiness of the place becomes apparent through the complete lack of any interaction, with only the occasional response from glados. Several different narrative artifacts are present, a combination of in game artifacts, cameras which follow the player, hybrid artifacts such as the elevators which acts as an intermediary between levels telling the story and giving the game a chance to load. There are also artifacts which exist purely to aid the player, such as the warning signs, but are justified in game as narrative due to their repetition. The one way dialogue also establishes the aloneness of the protagonist, and forces the player to construct their own narrative as to where they are.

What are some examples of environmental storytelling?

The RatMan is a perfect example, where the story of how the character is trapped in the test chambers and held against their will. The Ratman dens reoccur across the last levels of the game, as the narrative becomes clearer. Another narrative element is the Companion cube, a unique weighted puzzle cube which is attributed value uniquely based on its heart symbol, and glados’s comments.

What is the narrative being presented?

Portal is able to tell the narrative of resistance and entrapment without any dialogue or direct narrative. The narrative is told purely through environmental cues and one way dialogue. The narrative and puzzle solving are intertwined, both being key elements told through the in game environment, and the semiotic toolkit generated by and for the player.

Script during the Gameplay:

Introduction: (Emma Darwin)

Portal is a perfect example of how a game can build both narrative and gameplay instruction through techniques of showing not telling. Showing is described as using the environment at the player’s disposal to interpret what is the story of the game. It is through what you are experiencing as the main character physically and emotionally that the player falls into the game world and understand what is happening in the game. Telling, on the other hand, is explicitly telling the character what is happening during the gameplay. It is through what is said by the narrator and/or interactions with “your” character and the other users that “telling” is being expressed.

Showing and telling are therefore distinct mechanics, with showing being the most immersive tool for a game. The means by which Portal shows instead of tells can be constructed through the conceptual tools of Eddo Stern’s “Artifacts”. Stern conceptualises artifacts as elements within the game which act on the player to tell story, establish narrative, or instruct the player on gameplay. Artifacts are strewn throughout Portal’s game world, whether in the form of pictograms giving hints to player for how to avoid danger, or a handprint on a wall where it shouldn’t be enticing the player to explore further, they are almost exclusive in their game world presence.

Stage 0 to 2: ( KIRBYKID )

  • As you are going through the stages in Portal, you are more likely to be more focused on the puzzle rather than the environment the character is in. As the player proceeds through the game, the game elements create a story without any dialogue or text neither from the NPC (Glados) nor from an implanted script. Examples of these elements are the writings in the Ratman’s den, warning labels from the entrance screen, the companion cube, and much more.

Stage 14:  ( Eddo Stern )

  • “Backstory […] is to provide a contextual framework for the game narrative that is soon to unfold in real-time”
  • No need of story , can generate/determine it from the backstory (images + environment)
  • “NPCs often possess highly detailed histories and share their fabricated emotions towards PCs and other NPCs alike”

Stage 16:  ( Jakub Majewski  )

  •  “diegetic theories, which look upon narration as the telling of a story, verbally or in written form. These theories, then, deal primarily with the role of language in narrative, and how language can be used to manage temporality and subjectivity within the story” (defining what is telling in video games)
  • “the diegetic narrator’s tool is language”
  • (Mention when in RATMAN DEN)

Stage 17: ( Jesper Juul )

  • “An initial state, an overturning of this state, and a restoration of the state” à how to recreate the story in our heads without explicit knowledge of the story
  • “Half-Life does succeed in presenting a fixed sequence of events that the player can then afterwards retell. This means that some games use narratives for some purposes.” à comparison to Portal
  • “A narrative may be used for telling the player what to do or as rewards for playing. Games may spawn narratives that a player can use to tell others of what went on in a game session”
  • “In the classical narratological framework, a narrative has two distinct kinds of time, the story time, denoting the time of the events told, in their chronological order, and the discourse time, denoting the time of the telling of events (in the order in which they are told). To read a novel or watch a movie is to a large extent about reconstructing a story on the basis of the discourse presented.”
  • (Mention when talk about companion cube, get a story automatically)

Work Cited:

Darwin, Emma. “Showing And Telling: The Basics.” Web log post. This Itch Of Writing: The Blog. N.p., 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2017. <http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/showing-and-telling-the-basics.html&gt;.

Juul, Jesper. “Games Telling stories?” Web log post. Game Studies. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2017. <http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/juul-gts/&gt;.

KIRBYKID. “Portal: Narrative.” Web log post. Critical-gaming. N.p., 17 Nov. 2007. Web. 26 Jan. 2017. <http://critical-gaming.blogspot.ca/2007/11/portal-narrative.html&gt;.

Majewski, Jakub . “THEORISING VIDEO GAME NARRATIVE.” (2003): n. pag. Web. 26 Jan. 2017. <http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=;.

Stern, Eddo. “A Touch of Medieval: Narrative, Magic and Computer Technology in Massively Multiplayer Computer RolePlaying Games.” In Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings, ed. Frans Mayra. Tampre University Press, 2002.

Showing versus Telling through Portal 1