Skulle du spela vidare? : En analys av narrativ och spelmekanik i episodiska spel
Sammanfattning: Episodic gaming is a relatively new phenomenon, that hasn’t been as extensively explored as other areas in game research. In this paper we research how episodic narratives and gameplay engage players compared to regular continuous storytelling. By exploring this we get a better understanding of how to design games that captivate players to the point of them wanting to play the next episode. A user study is conducted where ten players play two episodes each of an episodic game. We apply observations and interviews to capture a large amount of empirical data. Results are used to answer questions such as: how do stories in episodic games distinguish from players’ experiences with stories in continuous games?; What is required of the gameplay?; And how can these differences and similarities between the two be used to create a more engaging game design and keep the players’ interest? We conclude that episodic games rely on a narrative focus rather than gameplay. This does not mean that the narrative focus should result in flawed gameplay. The story needs to actively engage the player and the gameplay must be designed to not disrupt the pace. Also, we find that a compelling story can outweigh flawed gameplay mechanics in episodic games. The story is key to keeping a player’s interest alive, but even the worst of gameplay cannot be saved by the best of plots.
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