As you may have noticed, I didn’t put up my usual post on Tuesday. The reason is that this week I’m swapping posts with Chip from Games I Made My Girlfriend Play. Chip is a fellow blogger, UWG contributor and awesome writer/gamer and GIMMGP was borne from his desire to share his passion for games with his girlfriend Laura. They keep their blog updated with musings, reminiscences and opinions about games both old and new. Make sure to check out his blog for more posts like the one below! Also, I’ll reblog my post here, so remember to check back for it! For the rest of October I’ll also be swapping posts weekly with a couple of other writers from UWG on the topic of horror. Basically it’s the blog swap month! Not to worry though, you’ll still be able to check out my weekly posts on their blogs, which I’ll reblog here.
The perspective within video games can be a blessing and a curse. Players have the ability to immerse themselves directly into events, to slip through the fourth wall and become the main character of a story. This level of control can provide engagement and suspend disbelief for hours on end, but it comes at a narrative price: the story being told is no longer uniform between players. Where I choose to turn left and hide in the shadows, you may opt to turn right and walk into the spotlight with guns blazing. Throughout the course of play there can be a variety of choices that will change the tone of the story and intentions of the main character. With so much power in the hands of the player, how can a developer craft a mysterious and haunting plot that will truly shock people?
One answer is through an unreliable narrator. The main character of a game can be written in such a way that key points of information will be hidden from the player. This may be a deliberate choice made by a devious narrator who is twisting story details for his/her own devices, or the involuntary actions of an amnesiac or a character who suffers from past trauma. When this plot device is well executed, a game with an unreliable narrator can make for an excellent horror experience. Continue reading