Parsons MFA Design&Tech

Yu-Chien Kao

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A single-player, explorative game that engages players in a murder mystery.

  • games-play
  • narrative-storytelling
    Thesis Studio

    Colleen K. Macklin

    Kan Yang Li

    Writing and Research

    Barbara B Morris

    Louisa Campbell

    “Falling” is a single-player, explorative game that engages players in a murder mystery. In game, storytelling approaches include non-linear, dynamic and interactive narratives, which also serve as game mechanics and gameplay. The plot possibilities are disjointed and disrupted. Players jump back and forth within timelines within narrative strands. Players uncover and connect puzzle fragments of story occurring in different or even in parallel time periods. The mystery can unfold in myriad ways, depending on paths created by players. The mid-century aesthetic is both modern and retro, echoing game dynamics that can move back and forth in time.

  • Project website

  • The central design question of “Falling” is, as well as their more conventional use in creating context, can aspects of dynamic narratives be deployed as game mechanics and gameplay? “Falling” posits a murder mystery that unfolds through digital play, built on techniques of non-linear and interactive narratives. It was produced as an MFA Design + Technology thesis project at Parsons School of Design.

    Murder is a disturbing, violent crime; nonetheless, murder involves emotionally engaged, complex relationships among people, objects and spaces, and mysteries present many opportunities for storytelling. The “Falling” player imbues the who, the what, the when, the where, and the why with logic by creating different pathways through the narrative.

    The plots and endings of the stories will change depending on how players interact with objects, scenes, as well as what dialogue player connect to each character. In the meantime, the relationships among the characters and the progression of events unfold unpredictably.

    With dynamic narratives, players are allowed to play back and forth within a timeline or even be lead to a parallel time. The goal of the project, a dynamic narrative game, is to provoke players to enjoy storytelling deeply as they immerse themselves in devising plots while playing “Falling.”

    Yu-Chien Kao

    Yu-Chien Kao is an interaction designer, especially in user experience and user interface design. Her philosophy is to keep things simple, easy and pleasurable. She has the capability to explore the needs of different audiences and always learns new things with enthusiasm.

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