video games and storytelling

I guess just about anything involving communication can be seen as storytelling, when you think about it (or at least, when you twist your thoughts around sufficiently). I was just in Phoenix on Friday, and amidst all sorts of meetings and seeing an AWESOME storyteller (Donna Washington) at the South Mountain Community College Storytelling Institute (that’s right, a storytelling institute in Phoenix), I had a chance to hang out with a fellow young-male-storyteller (a rare species). His name’s Dustin, and he tells stories with his feet, as a dancer (

I simply mean this as an introduction to a far more obvious modern venue for storytelling– the video game! I remember writing an essay in 10th grade for some book/reading award/scholarship/somethin

g-or-other. For some reason, there was a part in the essay in which I wrote about how much I enjoyed video games, for rather than being beholden in a book to the story presented by an author, video games allow for certain extra freedoms of active engagement with the story. My English teacher at the time astutely recommended that I change that section around so as not to be touting video games over books in an application for a book award…

Even then, I probably read far more books than I played video games. And now I’m a complete video game loser. Not in the traditional sense, of “a loser who plays video games”; rather, “a loser at playing video games.” Yes, I’m still in the middle of a game that I started playing 7 years ago, and in which I make little bursts of progress when I come back to it every year or two. Abysmal…

BUT, I’m newly inspired! Thanks to this truly wonderful (and wonderfully done) youtube video I just came across about storytelling (and its discontents) in the world of video games:

Any video game producers out there need a good storyteller????


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