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Game meets literature for perfection

Publication Date : 25-10-2012


In the past, games were just all about clearing the given quests. Nobody really cared about the game characters or storylines ― let’s take online games “Fortress” and “Lineage” for example.

When playing these games, people focused on targeting their competitors with the given weapons to score the most points or get the items that boost their ranks within the online gaming world.

However, that trend is changing and many people are now in search of games with a strong and appealing storyline, which creates another form of bond with its users, according to industry experts.

“A game with a concrete storyline pulls out one’s emotions, which makes the person feel like he or she is watching a whole episode of a drama while playing the game,” said Lee Jae-hong, professor in the digital storytelling department at Sogang University.

“When the person finds out why he or she has to fulfill a certain quest, various emotions inside them play their own part. You are almost moved to get rolling with the games.”

Storyteller Jeong Hyun-mi, who won the gold prize at NHN’s recent Game Literary Award 2012, also nods that the success of online games had a genuine and creative story behind them.

“A true story has the power to enable gamers to spread their wings of imagination and deeply fall for the content and even make them believe that what’s inside that particular world is real,” she said.

Jeong, a 33-year-old Seoulite, has been enthusiastic about games since she was a kid, clearing several rounds of “Hexa” and “Tetris” with her eyes closed in elementary school.

Joined by her love for fresh and solid stories, she was able to draw herself as the main character of her newly written game script “The Tower Game” and develop a storyline that had been unheard of and differentiated from what’s out in the market.

Her story starts like this.

The player is trapped in the dark in a 63-storey tower with 100 different rooms. Relying only on hearing skills, the person needs to find his or her own way out of the tower.

“How the game storyline differentiates itself from others is that the person can’t see but only hear to find the escape route, and here, the main character is a reflection of many modern men,” said Jeong.

“Everyone has his own trauma and the tower is what represents that. They need to break that in order to find light ― their true identity.”

In an attempt to support such aspiring game script writers, NHN introduced a new genre into the industry three years ago called “game literature” and hosts an annual award ceremony, most recently held last week.

“There are some industry-leading game developers that focus on quickly producing the games but I believe that needs to change now,” said Chris Lee, head of Hangame’s game division, making his first public appearance at the award ceremony since his appointment.

“We need to strengthen the scenario sector and I hope this kind of event will support the move.”

Lee of Sogang University, who is also the programme coordinator for the school’s Game Education Center, agreed that the storyline sector needs polishing before it can go global.

“Global game players want games that have a story like ‘World of Warcraft,’ especially European players,” he said. “The demand is there so we will need additional furbishing.”


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