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Maurice Suckling Aristotle, Games Writing and Games.

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1 Maurice Suckling Aristotle, Games Writing and Games

2 University of Bristol

3

4 The Poetics c.335 BCE Aristotle Does he have anything to tell us as games writers and makers of games?

5 Why people watch plays/play games Catharsis and Rhaumaston Catharsis Purgation Tragedy… is a representation of… action… by means of pity and fear bringing about the purgation of such emotions. (p.38-39) Rhaumaston Wonder As far as poetic effect is concerned, a convincing impossibility is preferable to an unconvincing possibility. (p.73)

6 Story and Plot PLOT …the arrangement of incidents…complete action. 1 The things that happen. STORY Thought (dianoia) – theme. What all the components of a tragedy/play/etc MEAN. NARRATIVE DISCOURSE Diction. “The greatest virtue of diction is to be clear without being commonplace”. (p.62) The way things that happen are presented. ( 1 p.39, 41)

7 Example #1 PLOT The protagonist’s flight crashes, he discovers an underwater dystopian city, battles his way through a variety of districts in a bid for freedom, ultimately destroying two key figures of the city’s civil war along the way. STORY The best of us, with the best of intentions, can unwittingly create hell, rather than heaven.

8 Example #2 PLOT You’re born after nuclear war, escape the bunker, discover a town, track down your father, battle the area’s denizens, help or hurt a wide variety of characters and uncover a deeper conspiracy surrounding the forces vying for control of the area. STORY Even from the deepest despair hope can still spring.

9 How might this help us? DEVELOPMENT TOOL MARKETING TOOL

10 Aristotelian Plot Structure #1 Now a whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end…(p.41)

11 Aristotelian Plot Structure #2 Another point to note is that the two most important means by which tragedy plays on our feelings, that is ‘reversals’ and ‘recognitions’, are both constituents of plot. (p.40) beginning complicationdenouement

12 More Recent Plot Structures. Syd Field

13 William Labov

14 Cheryl Klein

15 Seymour Chatman

16 . Joseph Campbell

17 Seymour Chatman

18 Aristotelian Plot Structure for games.

19 Examples.

20 Plot Unity. A plot does not possess unity… merely because it is about one man. Many things…may happen to one man, and…not contribute to any kind of unity… he may carry out many actions from which no single unified action will emerge…the plot…being the representation of an action, must present it as a unified whole; and its various incidents must be so arranged that if any one of them is differently placed or taken away the effect of wholeness will be seriously disrupted. For if the presence or absence of something makes no apparent difference, it is no real part of the whole. (pp.42-43)

21 Examples.

22 Linearity. beginning middleend

23 Non-linear Tools for Game Makers. Character Diction Thought Song Spectacle

24 Non-linear Tools for Game Makers. Character

25 . Diction sound sample 3.mp3 Non-linear Tools for Game Makers

26 . Thought Non-linear Tools for Game Makers

27 . Song Sound sample 4.mp3 Non-linear Tools for Game Makers

28 . Spectacle Spectacle.flv Non-linear Tools for Game Makers

29 Endings. Every tragedy has its complication and its denouement… By complication I mean the part of the story from the beginning to the point immediately preceding the change to good or bad fortune; by denouement the part from the onset of this change to the end. (p.56) The word meaning goes back to a root that signifies “opinion” or “intention” and is closely related to the word moaning. A poem’s meaning is a poem’s complaint. Harold Bloom, ‘The Breaking of Form.’ Deconstruction and Criticism, Ed. Harold Bloom, (New York: The Seabury Press, 1979), p.1.

30 Conclusion. People play games for catharsis and wonder. Story, Plot, and Narrative Discourse can mean very different things. Plot Structure must have revelations and reversals. Plot Structure must move from a beginning, to a middle, to an end. Plots need unity. A whole needs unity. Nothing is greater than the whole. If it’s not part of the whole chop it off, or cut it out. Plot is linear, but other story elements are not, and you can use character, diction, thought, song and spectacle to achieve non-linear story goals. Plots need change. Plots need endings or your story lacks meaning.

31 Questions.

32


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