The Emotional Impact of Indie Narrative Games

Contextual Essay

Ideation and Context

For this Digital Artefact, I originally came up with the idea to study the emotional impact of lesser-known indie narrative games on the player. I decided to focus on three of my favourite games (Life is Strange, Gone Home, and Journey) and split the video essays into three topics, one per game. These topics were to be ‘Character’, ‘Story’, and ‘Music’, as I felt that these were the major attributes that contributed to a games narrative.


The approach I took to studying these games was decided later in the projects timeline, however I ended up structuring it by studying each games ‘Modality’, ‘Technical Strata’, and ‘Technological Context’.

Analytical Framework

Background Research

“We should just start making games that are about narrative ideas instead of games that are about, say, shooting or jumping or flying or driving.”

Writing Video Games: Can Narrative be as Important as Gameplay

I did a lot of research when writing the scripts for the video essays. I looked into articles about narrative in video games such as the one above, as well took a deep look into developers explanations of their games and why they chose to implement what they did.

Life is Strange Developer Diary
Gone Home Developers Commentary

Response to Feedback

Overall the feedback I got was enormously positive. My biggest criticism however throughout the project was the lack of depth in research, as well as the use of class lecture material. I attempted to rectify this in the Beta post as well as incorporated further class material into my analytical framework with the final DA.

Overall Trajectory

The above is the proposed timeline that was shared with the Beta post. As you can see I successfully followed it through to Week 9, however failed to continue as such due to other responsibilities.

Success and Limitations

The scripts for the video essays took longer than expected to research and write, which resulted in this DA being completed a few days overdue. I also found it challenging to research on a topic I had never researched before but due to the feedback from other classmates, I managed to get ideas and tips and that thoroughly helped in the long run. However, overall I am very proud of the final product.


Howitt, G. (2014). Writing video games: can narrative be as important as gameplay?. The Guardian. Available at:

IAmSp00n (2012). Journey – Gameplay / Playthrough. Available at:

Kabraxis (2013). Journey – Meeting A Stranger. Available at:

Life is Strange (2015). Life Is Strange Developer Diary – Creating Arcadia Bay. Available at:

lolRenee (2013). Gone Home (Full Playthrough, No Commentary). Available at:

Marcelus Castle Rain (2014). Gone Home With Developers Commentaries #01. Available at:

Remo, C. (2013). See You Soon.

Wintory, A. (2012). Nascence.

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