ACMI Game Masters: The Forums – Flexing the Story Muscle

Day 2 of the Game Masters Gaming Forums began with Flexing the Story Muscle, a discussion about the importance and process of story writing for video games.

A man who needs no introduction (but I’ll give him one anyway), Tim Schafer, best known as the designer of Grim Fandango, Psychonauts and Full throttle, gave us a insight into his amazing, albeit slightly strange, story writing process. He started off with finding a concept of a game, in which he basically writes constantly on a page, “This can go on for a good couple of days, putting ideas in ink.” After he finds a good idea, he tries to find confidence in the idea by finding the least likely person to dislike the idea. Which is followed by the usual pre-production jumble. One interesting thing that Schafer said he did for Psychonauts was creating them mock Friendster profiles, showing their likes and dislikes and relationships with each other.

Drawing to a conclusion of the discussion, Q and A started. One interesting question was asked, “Why is Comedy one of the most used themes in video games?”.  Comedy creates a feeling of enjoyment, while Tragedy can leave you unfulfilled, implanting the idea of wasting time. Although, Schafer said tragedy could be created into a great game, if done right.