Narrative design for games


The Hero with a thousand faces – Joseph Campbell – Not about games but a seminal work on Narrative structure and archetypes

The Art of Game Design – a book of lenses – Jesse Schell – there is a considerable section of this which deals with Story.

Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals (The MIT Press) by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman  – a really expensive book, and not particularly about storytelling, but absolutely essential if you are serious about working in games design

The Game Narrative Toolbox (Focal Press Game Design Workshops) by Tobias Heussner , Toiya Kristen Finley , et al.

Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques Evan Skolnick

Narrative Design: The Craft of Writing for Games by Michael Breault

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer – not specifically about games but an amazing resource on all aspects of imaginative writing

Blogs / websites  – these guys have all sorts of useful advice on all aspects of game design – Gamasutra are also a really good resource – Absolutely the best resource for finding out about individual games – including really obscure ones.

Journals etc.

There is a growing body of research about the topic, so if you have access to any libraries of research papers, I would definitely do a search for ‘narrative in games’ or ‘storytelling in games’. There are some free to view sources, which don’t require you to be a student or pay for access. I found this, for example:

Google Scholar might be a good place to start searching – here is a list of journals and databases about video game design – where you might find specific articles about storytelling

It seems less easy to find a list of journals about board game design – they tend to turn up one-by-one if you google ‘journals of boardgame design’. You can do that. Here are a couple to keep you going

TED talks etc.

The Design in Narrative Design – YouTube

Narrative in Games – Role, Forms, Problems, and Potential …

DD2018: Artur Ganszyniec – Narrative-driven game design …

Intro to Narrative Design for Game Developers | raw tech …

7 Tips for Narrative Designer Hopefuls – Gamasutra


Video Games/Apps

Bury me my love



What remains of Edith Finch?

Tabletop Games



Once Upon a Time


Above and Below


Twine – Tool for telling interactive non-linear stories

Ink – Scripting language that lies behind Inkle Studio’s interactive masterpieces, such as their adaptations of Steve Jackson’s ‘Sorcery!’ books

Quest – Javascript library for creating ‘choose your own adventure’ style narratives

Eko Studio – Tool for creating interactive video

Klynt – Mixed media for interactive storytelling

Storymap – Location based storytelling

Editor at Ludogogy
Sarah Le-Fevre is a games-based learning professional who specialises in organisational learning around systemic ‘wicked problems’, and helping businesses spot and exploit opportunities for ethical ‘for good’ innovation. She works with tools such as Lego® Serious Play® and the Octalysis gamification framework to create compelling immersive learning experiences. She is currently writing a book outlining a systems practice approach to delivering impactful learning within organisations.

A real board games nerd, she is considering having her floors reinforced to support the ever increasing weight of the boxes. When she is not designing or facilitating learning games she is the editor of Ludogogy Magazine. Sarah lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, younger daughter, and a beautiful (but very loud) Bengal cat.

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