What is Digital Storytelling in Video Game Design?

Digital storytelling in video game design refers to production elements, such as audio, video and animation, but it also refers to storytelling elements, such as universal themes, symbols and narratives. Digital storytelling uses media production and film techniques to create plot lines, events, characters and conclusions of video games. Modern video games enhance the user’s experience through greater interactivity and impressive multimedia content.

Digital Storytelling vs. Ancient Dice

Mysterious gaming dice and boards can be found in ancient cultures in China, Egypt, Rome and Greece. Game play and entertainment have a long historical record of exploring themes, challenging values and permeating all aspects of human existence. Joseph Campbell, the world’s most authoritative mythologist, stated that ancient cave paintings were visual story tools used to help adolescents transition into adulthood and understand the meaning of life.

Modern video games actually involve ideas from law, art, war, science, society, culture, language, literature and psychology. Digital storytelling uses computer-based game design to create modern prototypes of ancient motifs and mythology. This is especially true among fantasy and science fiction video games that typically follow the quests of warriors in the pursuit of justice, victory and revenge.

Video Game Narratives

‘The Legend of Zelda’ was originally released in 1986. This fantasy video game centered around the main character Link on his quest to save Princess Zelda. The ‘Mario Bros’ game involved two Italian-American plumbers who had to defeat evil creatures emerging from the city’s sewers. These old Nintendo games may appear simple and nostalgic, but they defined how video games presented story goals, characters and challenges.

All story-based video games will include a beginning, middle and an end. Characters will have flaws, personalities and backgrounds. There will be various puzzles to be solved, obstacles to be overcome and artifacts to be obtained. Telling digital stories will be expressed with text, video, sound, graphics, animation and player interaction. Computer games are interactive, so their non-linear stories offer endless possibilities and variations.

Who Designs Video Games?

Video game designers are graphic designers and software developers who play a critical role in the transformation of gameplay prototypes and high-level concepts into functional, digital experiences, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They must have a deep understanding of player desires, industry patterns, system bugs and game engineering concepts. There are many types of video games, such as adventure and first-person shooter (FPS), so specialized knowledge of game subgenres is needed. Video game designers will work closely with teams to create functionality and document game systems.

Video game designers must produce fun, engaging and visually appealing game systems through collaboration and trial and error. They must accurately balance design variables to create compelling combat, interaction and adventure experiences that cater to different play styles. They will directly work with content teams to populate the world with unique and reusable points of interest. Most employers expect a bachelor’s degree in application development, computer science or software engineering.

Related Resource: How Can You Become An Art Director For A Video Game?

Readers should note that the general term ‘digital storytelling’ refers to the common practice of ordinary people using digital tools and social media platforms to tell their story. These engaging stories are often compelling and emotionally charged. Digital storytelling in video game design includes hyper-texts, interactive stories, web-based narrative and customized computer games.