Translation: “Parallel Worlds” [Interview with Hiroyuki Kanno, Sega Saturn Magazine, Vol. 24, 18 July 1997]

tl note: In this interview, Kanno is referred to as Kenno, as he was sometimes credited as “Yukihiro Kenno”.


Full Translation of 並 列世界 [“Parallel Worlds”]
Interview With Kanno Hiroyuki
Sega Saturn Magazine, Vol. 24, July 18-24 1997

Aiming for a system that doesn’t blindfold you

―I know that some of our readers have never played YU-NO before. First of all, please tell us about the key aspects in YU-NO.

Kenno: A.D.M.S (Adams), a new multi-system, will be the key element. It stands for “Auto Diverge Mapping System,” which directly translates to “automatic branch mapping function.” In conventional games with branching narratives, it is difficult to identify the branching points in the story. It can be fun to look for branches, but at the same time, there are times when you have to look at the same scene over and over again, and you have to go through a sometimes annoying trial and error process. A.D.M.S. was created to solve this problem.

Depending on the player’s actions and decisions, the story will branch out and be created in a variety of ways. A.D.M.S. is a visual map that displays the branching situation in a tree (see previous page), and a chime (sound effects) is sounded when a branching point approaches, allowing players to grasp the situation with their eyes and ears. Checking your position on the map, collecting various items and information, and navigating various branching worlds…… This is [A.D.M.S].

Continue reading “Translation: “Parallel Worlds” [Interview with Hiroyuki Kanno, Sega Saturn Magazine, Vol. 24, 18 July 1997]”

Why NarraScope? Motivations for Organizing a Game Narrative Conference

At GDC 2018, I was hurrying through the convention center (frazzled, no doubt, about my upcoming talk about designing Frog Fractions 2’s narrative and alternate reality game) when an unobtrusive flyer on a table caught my attention.  “Get on board the early hype train for the new Narrative Interactive Fiction Adventure Games Convention” it read, and I was intrigued.

Continue reading “Why NarraScope? Motivations for Organizing a Game Narrative Conference”

Interview: Johnnemann Nordhagen

On February 9, 2019, I interviewed Johnnemann Nordhagen of Dim Bulb Games about his game Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, the role of storytelling and narrative in interactive media, the politics of representation in video games and America as a national myth.  The interview was conducted as part of my doctoral dissertation research at the University of Southern California, and can be heard at the Red Pages Podcast website.

Emergent Meaning and Narrative in the Digital Space

Emergent Meaning and Narrative in the Digital Space
Addressing Tensions in Games and Game-like Media

 “Most people want to be told a story.  Leaving it up to a random number generator is dicey.” – Ed Del Castillo, Producer, Command & Conquer

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment in human culture.  Throughout the centuries we as a species have invented many ways to tell ourselves stories, and continue to do so.  In recent years, games have become one of the most popular formats for delivering narrative, but as a new form of storytelling, narrative games face several critical issues.[1]  Although the problems facing this burgeoning medium are not insurmountable, they are uniquely twisted by the fact that games are, by their nature, a participatory endeavor – a transaction between the designers and players where the contact is far more direct than it is in other forms of popular storytelling.  Although as an industry games are growing and are doing much better than older, more established mediums in the marketplace, critical thinking about games, and especially how narratives in games are constructed, is still in its infancy.  There are at least two fundamental unresolved questions in games criticism –, “how do games mean?” and “how do games tell compelling stories?” Answering both of these questions is a much larger task than I am capable of achieving in this essay, but by the end I hope to provide a potential framework for how games mean and from there briefly propose a solution to the narrative question.

Continue reading “Emergent Meaning and Narrative in the Digital Space”

Ludic Epistolary or, Where Have All The Letters Gone?

In this essay, I discuss the evolution of epistolary fiction from its early days in novels through modern incarnations in video games.

Continue reading “Ludic Epistolary
or, Where Have All The Letters Gone?”

Vaccines and Validity

“The human mind seldom arrives at truth upon any subject, till it has first reached the extremity of error.”  – Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral & Philosophical (147)

The above quote was written in 1798 by one of the newly-founded United States’ leading citizens.  Benjamin Rush, a Philadelphia physician, educator, politician and reformer was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and founded Dickinson College.  I cite him now for his medical reputation.  One of the premier physicians of his day, he founded the American psychiatry tradition, publishing the first textbook on the subject.  His contributions to the field of medical science are still influential to this day.

Continue reading “Vaccines and Validity”

Ringabel and Edea

It’s very cold and snowy and I was bored so I doodled Ringabel and Edea as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask in my yearly act of fandom.  I honestly could see similar costumes appearing in this game, which has a worrisome preoccupation with the characters playing dress-up.

“Where did you even GET these costumes?”

“The Master Sage, of course.  His collection is… extensive.”

“Today Ringabel, both you AND your clothes are black as pitch.”

“Would you have preferred the Bravo Bikini?”


What I Played in 2013

Here’s what I played for the first time in 2013.  I’ve tried to include absolutely everything.  The list is split into two sublists: games I feel like writing a bit about, and everything else.  If a game is free I have provided a link to the game.  As an aside, did you know that I now have a podcast where we interview people in the games industry?  I bet you didn’t!  You should follow it.  No seriously, you should.

This is a Spoiler-Free Post.

Continue reading “What I Played in 2013”