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Branching Narrative Structures

Recommendations by ElliotM

A list sharing resource links and examples of branching narrative structures from some of the games I have played.

Theory links on narrative structures:
https://emshort.blog/2016/11/05/small-scale-structures-in-cyoa/
https://heterogenoustasks.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/standard-patterns-in-choice-based-games/
http://wiki.failbettergames.com/

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1. To Spring Open, by Peter Berman and Yoon Ha Lee (as Two-Bit Chip) (2015)
Average member rating: (17 ratings)
ElliotM says:

To Spring Open's nature is that of a Free-Roam CYOA: Locations are interconnected in reciprocal looping links like Parser-Fiction and there is an inventory. What you have with you and what costume you are wearing is an important part of moving around this Miyazaki-like world and solving the story's larger puzzles and mysteries.

To Spring Open also makes good use of Twine features and macros such as cycling links to implement clickable interactive environment features. One early example is the Jackal Library book shelves, which also illustrate a clever way to provide optional backstory and world building without overwhelming the reader with massive text dumps. By repeated clicking on the book shelf links additional text was added and changed describing the various things you found out by searching the shelves.

2. metrolith
by Porpentine
(2012)
Average member rating: (11 ratings)

ElliotM says:

Metrolith's main structures feature Delayed Branching and Braided Narrative.

Metrolith is a short story which goes through a sequence of branching and rejoining (Delayed Branching) while alternating between character specific sections and general city exploration sections in an 'ABABA' pattern (Braided Narrative). The 'A' story line sections are based on the Sorting Hat structure - your initial choice is which traveler to follow and this choice determines what you see during each of these sections, which mainly serve to add characterization and describe character growth, though they don't actually contain choices until the end of the 'A' story line sections when it is time to pick an ending. The 'B' story line sections consist of exploring a section of the city as you travel through it and these are available to each traveler. In a sense, the city is its own character with its own story which we experience pieces of while following the various travelers going through it. The majority of the choices in the 'B' sections are explorative in nature with a hint of danger.


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