e-Lit Resource
Game Design as Narrative Architecture

Contributing to the now (in)famous ludology vs. narratology debate, this essay aims to find a middle ground between those critics that believe there is no part for story in games, and those that believe the narrative aspiration of video games is evident. Responding to prominent ludologists (Costikyan, Juul, Eskelinen) who believe that there is an inherent conflict between interaction and storytelling, Jenkins attempts to “offer a middle-ground position between the ludologists and the narratologists, one that respects the particularity of this emerging medium -- examining games less as stories than as spaces ripe with narrative possibility.”
Jenkins offers up five points which he believes illuminate the narrative potential of video games: games are “spatial stories and examples of environmental storytelling,” they are “evocative spaces,” players are “enacting stories” in video games, and games contain either “embedded or emergent narratives.”
First appearing on the First Person thread of ebr and later in the First Person print anthology, this essay began a heated debate on the website, with ripostes from a very critical Markku Eskelinen (http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/astragalian), and Jon Mckenzie (http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/noagon). Finally, Henry Jenkins responded in turn to Eskelinen, found here: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/well-syuzheted.