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Performing Videogame Narratives in Space: Indexical Storytelling

Friday, February 10, 2012 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am EST

Clara Fernández-Vara
Clara Fernandez-Vara
Clara Fernández-Vara

Videogames are performance activities, like theatre, sports, rituals or dance. The presentation will draw comparisons and contrasts with theatre to understand how videogames can incorporate narratives as part of the performance: games give cues to the player, who has to figure out the script of the story. How can these cues contribute to the narrative of the game? Focusing on the design of the space, and how it provides opportunities for action, provides some of the answers. The novel concept of indexical storytelling describes a series of strategies that use environmental design to help the player form the narrative script of a game. The game gives indications to the player to interpret, carry out, or even react against. These strategies help understand how videogames tell stories, create narrative opportunities, and open up new avenues for innovation.

Clara Fernández-Vara is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. She is particularly interested in applying methods from textual analysis and performance studies to the study of video games and cross-media artifacts. Her work concentrates on adventure games, as well as the integration of stories in simulated environments through game play. Her goal as a researcher is to bridge disciplines – humanities and sciences, theory and practice – in order to find ways to innovate and open new ground in video games studies and design.

Clara holds a Ph.D. in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She earned a BA in English Studies by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and was awarded a fellowship from La Caixa Foundation to pursue a Masters in Comparative Media Studies at MIT. Clara has presented her work at various international academic conferences, such as DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association), Foundations of Digital Games and Future Play. She has also been a speaker at the Game Developer’s Conference, one of the main video game industry gatherings worldwide. She teaches courses on videogame theory and game writing at MIT, and has worked on two experimental adventure games as part of her research, Rosemary (2009), Symon (2010) and Stranded in Singapore (2011).


Friday, February 10, 2012
10:30 am - 11:30 am EST
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Comparative Media Studies: MIT Building E15, Room 335
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