The Poetics c.335 BCE Aristotle Does he have anything to tell us as games writers and makers of games?
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)
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)
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.
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.
How might this help us? DEVELOPMENT TOOL MARKETING TOOL
Aristotelian Plot Structure #1 Now a whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end…(p.41)
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
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)
. Song Sound sample 4.mp3 Non-linear Tools for Game Makers
. Spectacle Spectacle.flv Non-linear Tools for Game Makers
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.
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.