Video Game Storytelling β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

9780385345828When I first requestedΒ Video Game Storytelling by Evan Skolnick, I expected to read something unique to video game writing. But really, this is a great craft book for modern day storytelling.

It starts out slow, covering the three act structure with a beginning which defines the character, a middle which commits the hero to the conflict, and the finale which resolves the action. Then in accordance with almost every writing book I’ve ever graced with my eyes, it moves into the hero’s journey: the world before the conflict, a call to action, refusal of the call, meeting a mentor, committing to the conflict, tests and challenges, approaching theΒ inmost cave (or point of high conflict), the fight to resolve the main conflict, the reward, the road back, the resurrection when it seems all has been lost, and the resolution.Β 

Circles, Squares, and Triangles… Oh, my…

According to Chris Solarski’sΒ article, details how all 3d shapes within a game–whether they are figures, environment, or props–begin as one of three basic shapes: circles, squares, or triangles. Each of these shapes are associated with an aesthetic concept:

Circle: innocence, youth, energy, feminity

Square: maturity, stability, balance, stubbornness

Triangle: aggression, masculinity, force.

According to Solarski, we associate these shapes with these aesthetic concepts because of our real-life experience. Imagine one of the three objects above being thrown at you. Instinct will tell you the sphere will not hurt, the cube may if you catch it incorrectly, and the star will hurt regardless. This is based on your early life lessons regarding sharp objects. Those psychological associations let us orient them along, what Solarski calls, aΒ shape spectrum of emotions. We associate curvature with positive feelings and safety and more triangular shapes with negative feelings and danger.