Project 4

| Part 1 | Introduction | Narrative Structure | Character and Identity | User Interaction | Conclusion | References | Personal Site |

Character and Identity

Characters are an important element to any story, but in games and interactive stories they play an even more important role. Gee (2003) identifies three types of identities that are operating while playing a game: virtual, real, and projective. The projective identity is particularly applicable to my story because of the user's interaction in moving the story along. Gee (2003) explains that the projective identity means both "'to project one's values and desires onto the virtual character'...and 'seeing the virtual character as one's own project in the making...'" (p. 55). This projective identity is largely made possible due to the fact that the user's interaction ends up influencing the narrative structure of the story. However, the way the character is constructed could influence the decisions the user makes throughout if they are trying to hold true to what they expect out of the character.

In creating the story "Outbreak: Panacea," I developed the character Selene as a hero. The storyline doesn't fit neatly into what Murray (2002) describes as "the journey story" since the focus is not on Selene facing imminent danger or other seemingly impossible situations. However, there is still a clear progression of the character and the story that is similiar to the hero's journey, so I believe that it fits this narrative archetype.

Schwartz (1969) explains that there are several different variations of the hero monomyth. The core of the story, the hero leaving to overcome some seemingly insurmountable feat, remains the same. In regards to the character Selene, this is demonstrated by the fact that the government seeks her out specifically because they have been unable to retrieve the hard drive on their own. However, the last portion where the hero traditionally returns with some lesson to teach society shifts (Schwartz, 1969). Three of these alternate endings to the monomyth that Schwartz (1969) identifies are present in my story. The first is the monomyth ending where the hero returns and is reunited with his people. Selene accomplishes this ending by retrieving the hard drive and returning it as asked. Another monomyth ending results in the hero being an outsider upon his return, which we see if the player were to choose to have Selene destroy and return the damaged hard drive. The final monomtyh ending is where the hero faces the ultimate sacrifice and knowingly chooses that path. In my story, this is where Selene blows up the facility to prevent the government from causing further harm to society.

Constructing the hero in this way allows the user to have even greater control over the story. The user determines what type of hero he wants Selene to be by projecting an identity on her just as Gee (2003) describes.