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    Develops the ability to design and write creative narratives for games and interactive media.

    Video games are now widely recognised as an artistic and narrative medium in their own right. But writing for games is much different than writing for novels, films, and other linear creative forms. Writing for games involves storytelling conventions that must account for the mechanics of choice and the player’s first-hand experience of characters in a storyworld. This paper will train students in the craft of writing for games and interactive media.

    From worldbuilding to generating story development documents, player-character profiles, and interactive dialogue scripts, this paper provides students with knowledge and skills central to the discipline. Those same skills are transferrable to broader cultural and educational domains that require writing for online and interactive media. This paper will also pose critical questions that emerge around player agency and narrative experience, as well as ethical concerns around diversity in representation.

    Students will be guided by industry professionals in a series of industry-style writers’ room workshops in creating interactive narrative projects, developing their game writing craft, and engaging in constructive peer critique.

    About this paper

    Paper title Special Topic: Creative Writing for Games and Interactive Media
    Subject English
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period(s) Semester 2 (Distance learning)
    Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    36 points
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Associate Professor David Ciccoricco

    Teaching staff

    David Ciccoricco
    Lisa Blakie
    Edwin McRae
    Mark Marino

    Paper Structure


    1) Worldbuilding
    2) Interactive Scriptwriting
    3) Story Development


    • World Summary (20%)
    • Interactive Dialogue Script (20%)
    • Player-character Profile (20%)
    • Final Narrative Design Portfolio (30%)
    • Writing Workshop Tasks (10%)
    Teaching Arrangements

    The Distance Learning offering of this paper is taught remotely.

    The paper consists of one (1-hour) lecture per week and ten (2-hour) writing workshops during the semester.


    Additional texts and digital resources available online via Blackboard and eReserve

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students completing ENGL251 will be able to:

    • apply skills acquired in a range of digital tools, applications, and methods commonly associated with the domain of writing for video games and interactive media, and gain an understanding of the conceptual fields surrounding each of those approaches;
    • work in teams to create and develop game narrative concepts within a brief that will specify game format and platform, and communicate with peers to offer positive and effective support and critique of the writing process and outcomes;
    • apply a critical and historical understanding of game narrative within the context of video game technology and recognise how ludo-narrative design challenges and transforms the disciplinary boundaries of traditional humanities disciplines;
    • develop their capacity for self-directed activity through self-guided writing tasks;
    • reflect on, and develop creative and ethical responses to: the societal and environmental effects of the video games medium; the potentially manipulative effects of game narrative technologies on players; and the potential for game narratives to transform traditional views of storytelling on a global scale;
    • understand societal issues in the game industry, historical and current, both in a global context and in the expressly bi/multicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand.


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 12:00-13:50 30-35, 37-41

    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 29-35, 37-42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Tuesday 10:00-11:50 30-35, 37-41
    A2 Tuesday 12:00-13:50 30-35, 37-41
    A3 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 30-35, 37-41
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