The words we use in daily life reflect what we are paying attention to, what we are thinking about, what we are trying to avoid, how we are feeling, and how we are organizing and analyzing our worlds.

-Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010

Taylor Swift is an American singer-songwriter. Swift is known for her narrative songwriting, which often centers around her personal life. Although she has been pegged by the media as the “psycho serial dater girl”¹, Swift’s discography explores a range of subjects beyond just love and romance, including parent-child relationships, friendships, alienation, fame, and career ambitions. Swift famously writes…

Is this game balanced?

I played Settlers of Catan designed by Klaus Teuber. It’s one of my all time favorite strategy games. Players take on the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players gain points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points, typically 10, wins. I have played this game dozens of times with family and friends, and it is still fun to this day. I think this is a testament to the game’s balance, that is, there is no one dominant strategy. …

Monument Valley

Name of game, creator, platform

I played Monument Valley, an indie puzzle game developed and published by Ustwo Games. I played on my iPhone. The game was $3.99, but I can tell a lot of work went into designing the levels (the visual design is immaculate).

Target Audience

Monument Valley definitely seems like a game that would appeal to lovers of puzzle and design. The player leads a character, Princess Ida, through a series of puzzling mazes made up of impossible shapes and optical illusions. Each level is a fun brain-teaser sure to excite puzzle-lovers. Also, I know many people who have raved about how beautiful this…

Life Is Strange is an episodic graphic adventure video game developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix. The game is free to download on the App Store.

For our second project in CS247G, my team is essentially creating a mystery game that simulates snooping through someone’s phone. Players will solve immersive puzzles (e.g. cracking passwords, acquiring clues from texts) in order to progress through an unfolding narrative centered around a mysterious cheating scandal. …


Environmental Storytelling

Pokemon seems to use Environmental Storytelling. Each new installation of the game takes place in a whole new region with it’s own unique set of wild Pokemon, cities, and gyms.

Evocative Spaces

I used to play this game called Spongebob: Battle for the Bikini Bottom. It didn’t tell self contained stories, but rather it drew on existing elements of the Spongebob universe.

Enacting Stories

I used to play Supersmash Brothers Brawl and there was a story mode. The story mode was made up of small missions/quests that you had to complete. In a sense, these were all micro-narratives that contributed to the overall narrative.

Emerging Narratives

Animal Crossings seems to be a game that uses Emerging Narratives. It has a sandbox feel to it and the players are allowed to create their own stories. The game, in essence, authors the environment.

“Cheese or Font” and The Voting Game

1. Identify all the elements of Cheese or Font. Label them as core, supportive or extraneous. Core is the parts you need for gameplay, supportive is things like hints and instructions, and extraneous are things you could remove.

Core Elements:
Name of Cheese or Font in question
C or F buttons

Supportive Elements:
Color coding of right/wrong answers
Column view of all answers

Extraneous Elements:
Instructions (Title seems sufficient lol)
Prev/Next Buttons
Replay Button
Comments on Failure (Can be quite snarky)
Give Up Button
Pause Timer Button
Average Score statistics
Like/Share Buttons

2. Do a quick, small sketch of the game on a small piece of paper. Only use core elements. Small matters, because it constrains your ability to get fiddly. Standard 3x3 or 3x4 is good. If you must draw on an ipad, don’t zoom. Suck it up and stay small.

Core elements sketch

3. Make one element in a NEW thumbnail sketch HUGE. What else do you want to change? What can get smaller?

Shane Berger

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store