Videogames & Narrative: Jenkins's Transmedia


Stories within the game are not / should not be limited to the game. Transmedia storytelling allows stories to be told across a variety of media (Star Wars, Matrix), each providing a piece of the larger story. No longer autonomous, enriching the readers/players/viewers’ experience.

Transmedia storytelling adds value to the standard texts the students interact with. It opens them into a larger world where they can add and enhance the narrative and their interaction with it.

“Game designers don’t simply tell stories; they design worlds and sculpt spaces.” p.674

The environment is just as important to the story and the experience. Helps reinforce story’s message and mise-en-scene. Environmental storytelling, spatial stories, allow for exploration over plot development, and broad goals/narrative are constructed by the players actions. Rather than assuming that player freedom takes away from the narrative, spatial stories use the exploration to create the narrative. Jenkins states that the struggle between performance and exposition is not unique to videogames. Action films use a thin narrative as the glue to hold the action set pieces together. But the limited narrative gives the player/viewer an understanding of the context and the meaning behind the action. Action for the sake of action is fun, but shallow. Action within the confines of a story creates tension and excitement.

“Game designers struggle with this same balancing act – trying to determine how much plot will create a compelling framework and how much freedom players can enjoy at a local level without totally derailing the larger narrative trajectory (Jenkins, p.680).”