Line Hollis on Games and Narrative

Line Hollis has a new post up about “story blindness” (I don’t think I like the term much). A sample:

I’ve got a particular love for stories that build up or hint at an elaborate, vivid world, then dissolve into intentional narrative incoherence by the end. My favorite book, Dhalgren, for example. See also: The Etched City, Paranoia Agent, Magnolia, Mulholland Dr. Honestly, unintentional incoherence works just as well in a pinch. These things feel more honest to me because they mirror the way I tell stories. Probably this means they mirror the way I experience events as well. I don’t really perceive logical chains of cause and effect leading up to events. What I see is: lots of factors contribute to the world being a certain way and having certain pressures in it. These pressures restrict the range of things that are likely to happen. Within that range, though, shit’s pretty random. Fiction that echoes this worldview is comforting to me.

I have a lot of love for what Line is talking about here. Most of my favorite media objects have a semblance of a narrative that quickly dissolves into something other than what you think it is, and it is something that I want to chase in game design. Mulholland Dr. holds a special place in my heart because of the way it constructs a kind of channel-flipping narrative with some common characters and then immediately breaks that structure. Something similar is going on in Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron.

I can’t think of very many good examples of this in games, though, so I’m excited for Line’s upcoming mixtape on the subject (and I don’t think “you were a monster the whole time” games count.)

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One Response to Line Hollis on Games and Narrative

  1. Gravity’s Rainbow would be my favorite example of this kind of narrative.

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