Creative Writing and Storytelling Through Games

Videogames tell stories. Unfortunately, they typically tell this one: "Once upon a time there was a guy with a gun, and he went into a room and he shot some monsters, and then he went into another room and shot some other monsters." That's a story. But it's a really boring story.

Fortunately, as the barriers to entry on making games continue to disappear, it leaves the field wide open for newcomers and anyone interested to explore new types of stories to write and tell. So, how do you tell your story through the medium of games?

In this course, we will help people with non-game backgrounds learn to write, explore, and develop a vocabulary for building short and evocative game-like experiences.

We will not teach you how to write the next Grand Theft Auto or Fortnite. We will teach you how to approach games as a tool to tell stories that you haven't seen or heard before.

Course Logistics

Dates: Tuesday, January 26, 2021 (TBD)
These classes will be held over 5-6 sessions via a platform that will not require video chat. Only voice chat will be necessary. We will have an online community chat to share your questions during and beyond the workshop.
Times: TBD
Cost: $700
Experience Level: No advanced or special technical knowledge is required.
• Computer with an internet connection
• Inkle, a narrative scripting language for game development, or choice-based interactive fiction. free download
• Twine, an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. free download

Course Outline

• Expression of an idea through an interactive medium
• Familiarity with game engines that don't require programming skills or technical knowledge
• Removing the illusion that the creation / enjoyment of games is somehow inaccessible, arcane, or only for a certain type 0f person
• How to develop your own language and narrative arc through game rules and ---actions

Our goal is for you to leave the workshop with:
• A small portfolio
• The understanding that games can convey complex ideas
• The capability to work as a responsible author
• The ability to create and express meaning through interactive systems

Online Course

This course will be held over 5-6 sessions via a platform that will not require video chat. Only voice chat will be necessary. We will have an online community chat to share your questions during and beyond the workshop. The workshop will be recorded, archived and shared with participants for a limited time. Please contact us if you have any additional questions at [email protected]


David Wolinsky

An author, award-winning journalist, and researcher for 15 years, David is driven to write about aspects of American culture that impact everyone but aren’t fully understood. A former NBC and Onion editor, his first book ALL THE RAGE (spring 2021, Read-Only Memory) is an oral-history temperature-taking on the relationship between blame and the internet, as viewed through videogame culture. That book was an organic result of Don’t Die, an extensive independent interdisciplinary interview series founded in 2014 investigating modern crises through the lens of videogames’ creation of niche communities and the artform itself. He has written for The New Yorker, Wired, and Google Docs.

Adam Mayes

Adam is a designer, a hacker, and an instructor based in Denmark. A veteran game designer, he often jokes he's been in the videogame industry longer than many of his students have been alive. Over the last 10 years he's been running the game-design program at Uppsala University in Sweden, he has emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary education for future game designers. This work has also extended to creating an ARG to teach entrepreneurial mindsets for students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a game-based creative-writing class in Tallinn that demanded students explore many fiction types.

Diversity Scholarship

To help creators of all backgrounds reach their goals, we are proud to offer a diversity scholarship to sustain and advance an inclusive community at Gray Area and beyond. This full scholarship is for artists, students, and scholars from diverse backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education and the fields of art, design, and technology. To apply, enroll in this Scholarship Application form below.

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