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Game Writers on Game Writing: Part One

For those of you considering what writing for a video game would be like, it might be best to hear from people who actually do it for a living. This first instalment will look at two different, experienced game writers from different backgrounds on how they believe writing for the video game medium is fundamentally different from film or television. However, as our guest contributors will explain, writing for games is merely the other side of the coin, with different obstacles to work around but with different tools to work with.

First up is Anne Toole, with a tonne of experience in both the television and video game industries her piece explains one of the most significant differences when writing for a video game, that the audience is constantly interacting with the narrative. This concept is often called ‘Player Agency’.

Story creation is more of a partnership between creator and player, rather than a dictatorship of the writer

"Unlike other media, a game's story ideally should move forward based on player action and decisions, rather than a dramatic scripted scene the player has no control over.  Often, this is where more traditional writers stumble.  

Furthermore, although there are plenty of linear games out there, games provide a unique opportunity to give players choice and branching narrative.  Thus, story creation is more of a partnership between creator and player, rather than a dictatorship of the writer.  While some writers might feel that they are abdicating their role by writing a game, in fact, you have more opportunity to get all your ideas on the page.  What would happen if Luke had joined Darth Vader? What if Darth Vader had lived?  Rather than writing only one ending, you can write them all.  The other stories you have in mind — and their interesting implications — still have a place and can be experienced… if the player chooses."

Find out more about Anne’s work here and her twitter @amely

Mez Breeze is a fantastic independent games developer and writer known for her intense and subversive games and digital art. Mez’s contribution goes into a little detail on what kind of things can be achieved within the medium of games.

Hi. I'm Mez Breeze, and I run Mez Breeze Design (which provides boutique digital design and consultancy services, including games). In the gaming sphere, I'm probably best known for writing subversive games alongside my fellow game developer buddy Andy Campbell (who runs Dreaming Methods). Andy and I regularly pool our collective talents to create art and literary games that challenge traditional definitions and can be considered subversive. Examples of our work include The Dead Tower#PRISOMCarnivast and Pluto (currently in development). 

In relation to writing for games, I've found that it's never as simple as just writing a game "script" or game "screenplay". In the games spaces I've worked on – whether that be Alternate Reality Games or in 3D spaces – the writing process is finely integrated from the outset, with both the game mechanics and the storyworld (or gameworld) being constructed alongside the writing. As a games writer, you write primarily to cater for interactivity and direct engagement, as well as accounting for other more traditional literary concerns (like structure, plot, narrative development and so on). 
As I've said in this article about game writing: "If you finely balance the writing alongside other subversive game variables/assets, you’ll create strong narrative(s) without sacrificing a player’s sense of agency (or reducing the likelihood of emergent gameplay instances), resulting in a world that successfully caters for a general sense of player fulfilment." I'm always extremely aware that the end result of what I'm writing is actually intended to be *played* as opposed to passively watched/absorbed, which allows a writer to work in some really lovely touches. For instance, in our #PRISOM game (a player is set loose in a Glass City/Prison under infinite surveillance) I thoroughly enjoyed constructing the 3 alternate endings: players encounter one of the three according to the choices they make in-game. I also found drafting the #Tips" screen text an absolute  blast  (which forms part of the Help Menu), as I managed to work in an ethical angle, some metacritique and also a well-known pop cultural reference – see if you can pick it – which reads:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Find more about Mez Breeze's work in the links above or her twitter @MezBreezeDesign

Huge thanks to Anne and Mez for their contribution, be sure to look out for part two coming out soon with other guest contributors.

Previous Article: The 100 Billion Dollar Industry: Why You Should Write For Games


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'Hounds of Love' director Ben Young on the transition to a studio feature https://t.co/mYDdeYkWuq #HoundsofLove https://t.co/XgBfrB0zwC

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Tickets for the 50th Annual AWGIE Awards are now on sale. Join us as we celebrate this night of nights! #2017AWGIEShttps://t.co/GMXxjtn8Jv

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The 50th Annual AWGIE Awards nominations are in!

@AWG_1 #2017Awgies noms are out. Read these names & celebrate the lot of 'em, for they be the voices of our stories: https://t.co/jjib3c4e69

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Oh my!!! 2 eps of Rosehaven S1 nominated for a writers guild award. Super proud of our little stories. https://t.co/cvbxyEqLcD

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We're thrilled to announce the full list of nominees for the 50th Annual AWGIE Awards! #2017AWGIES

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A big thanks to the team over at Screentime Australia for sponsoring the 50th Annual AWGIE Awards! You can find out more about Screentime and their slate of great productions, including #JanetKing which is currently airing on ABC TV, over at their website: http://www.screentime.com.au

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Things are getting busy over at #2017AWGIES HQ so we thought we'd take this week to highlight and thank our 50th Annual AWGIE Awards sponsors. First up, a big thanks to the Australian Children's Television Foundation for their continual support of the AWGIE Awards and for championing Australian Children's TV. You can find out more about ACTF at their website below, which includes information on funding and production, their blog, and updates on the ongoing #SaveKidsTV campaign.

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A big congratulations to the winners of Best Script at the 6th Annual KidzFlicks Awards!

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Looking for a way to fill your long weekend? This Saturday and Sunday check out Crafting Intangibles, an international online and local event exploring interactive narrative design. Sign up and follow along from home or head to one of the live events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to hear speakers from across the USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Australia spill the latest thinking in designing structures for affecting experiences. For more information and to book tickets go here:

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Are you ready Sydney? Sydney Film Festival kicks off in 7 days! Dive into 12 days of cinematic joy with over 288 films and 400 sessions from international and local filmmakers, including last year's AWGIE Award winning Ali's Wedding written by Osamah Sami and Andrew Knight and an exciting list of other films written by our talented members. Tickets are selling fast, with some sessions selling out. Book your tickets or risk missing out! http://bit.ly/2qz2IyD

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Melbourne, your next member night is coming up Wednesday 14 June! We'll be chatting with Emilie Poissenot, Luke Miller, Clea Frost and Anna Irwin-Schutze about all things VR and gaming. With major international film festivals now running significant VR strands, and almost 2 billion gamers world-wide, there’s never been a better time to write for these exciting and unique formats. To book tickets and find out more head to the website:

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WA friends, our shiny new Perth office is now open and we'd love for you to drop by for a drink and some nibbles to see the new space and meet our new WA Member Engagement Officer, Tracey Defty-Rashid! 6.00 pm this Thursday 1 June at Fielder Street Creative on Fielder Street, East Perth. Please RSVP so we can add your name to the door list. More information and tickets are available here:

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A great read on last year's Feature Film Original AWGIE Award winner Ali's Wedding, written by Andrew Knight and Osamah Sami, which you can catch at the Sydney Film Festival this June!

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A big congratulations to Guild members Leah Purcell and Shelley Birse on winning awards at last night's NSW Premiere's Literary Awards!

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Sydney friends make sure you check out AWG member Suzie Miller's upcoming play SUNSET STRIP at Griffin Theatre Company this June! The Uncertainty Principle & Griffin Independent present Suzie Miller’s SUNSET STRIP – a play about love, sisterhood and making the best of a shitty situation. 14 June – 1 July Griffin Theatre Company Info at:

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Part two airs tonight!

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With text by AWG member Hilary Bell, SEVEN STORIES combines music, storytelling and film in a powerful world premiere that is at once visceral, engaging, funny and otherworldly. City Recital Hall, 3 June 7:30pm.

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Congrats to our member Ben Young - his first feature will be available in selected cinemas in Syd, Melb and Hobart from June 1. We have some double passes to a preview screening in Sydney this wed at 7pm at Dendy Newtown! Email olga@awg.com.au by COB today

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WA: Come see the new office, meet the team and network with peers and the industry. 6pm, Thur, 1st June!

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Congratulations to AWG member Stephen Irwin! Thank you Rae Johnston for the article

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