Conference on Narrative Games

deadline for submissions: 
March 11, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Stefan Hall / High Point University
contact email: 

Conference on Narrative Games

NEW Deadline for submissions:  Monday, March 11th

Keynote Speaker:  Rachel Noel Williams (Narrative Writer, Riot Games; Lead Narrative Designer Telltale Games; Narrative Designer, Obsidian Entertainment)

Special Guest Writer:  Jon Goff (16-year videogame and comic book veteran, including HaloDestiny, and Crackdown 3)

Over the history of game design, a fundamental consideration for creators is the inclusion of narrative.  Some might consider the introduction of narrative in game design as radical as the introduction of sound into film.  Not all games require, or even benefit from, a narrative.  For those games that involve narrative – from merely situating a player to deeply involving the player in the creation of a narrative experience – this inclusion can influence the games in a multitude of ways.  Through the interrelation of interactivity principles, game mechanics, and narrative elements, games can tell stories in a way no other medium can.  The success of recent games such as Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn, and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us delivered narratively immersive experiences for their players.  Long-running franchises from Zork to King’s Quest to The Legend of Zelda have narratives that not only span multiple games but also other media such as novels, comic books, and televisual productions.

To celebrate all the ways that games incorporate, create, and advance narrative, the Game & Interactive Media Design Program at High Point University (High Point, NC) is hosting a conference on narrative games.  Soliciting a wide variety of perspectives on all types of narrative games – not just video games but tabletop games, board games, card games, wargaming, and more – this conference aims to both interrogate and celebrate the interplay of games and narrative.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Balancing player agency within a narrative-driven game
  • Franchise reboots and the impact on narrative history (such as Gears of War IV (2016) or God of War (2018))
  • Player Reception
  • Players’ interpretation co-construction of interactive narratives
  • Physical and cognitive aspects of narrative interactivity
  • Game worlds and cultures
  • Game narratives in larger society
  • Casual games, interactive text-based narratives, exploration and walking simulators, and other narrative-driven games outside of mainstream deployment/reception
  • Story-telling through environment and asset design
  • Transmedia storytelling, particularly engagement with game narrative across multiple media platforms (e.g. The Walking Dead as part of a large franchise)
  • Intersectional discussions of representation of characters and cultures
  • Encouraging values through narrative design

Abstracts should range from 250-500 words and include a sample bibliography.


Abstracts should be directed to any of the four members of the conference committee:

Dr. Stefan Hall –

Dr. Kris Bell –

Dr. Kelly Tran –

Mr. Brian Heagney –

Please indicate “Narrative Game Conference 2019” in the email header.


Conference presentations should be 20 minutes in length.  Please note any AV needs in your abstract submission.


Original Deadline for submissions:  Friday, February 22nd

NEW Deadline for submissions:  Monday, March 11th

Acceptance notifications:   Starting on Friday, March 1st

Conference:  Friday-Sunday, April 12-14th


Registration fee:  $40 for faculty, $20 for students  (payable on site)


The Game & Interactive Media Design program is housed within the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication at High Point University (HPU).  The program was named a Top 50 Game Design program in 2017 by the Princeton Review.  HPU is located in High Point, NC, which is part of the Piedmont Triad including Greensboro and Winston-Salem.  High Point is a short ride from the Piedmont Triad International airport (GSO) in Greensboro, the city is directly serviced by Amtrak, and is easily accessible from I-40 by car.  The program also benefits from its close proximity to the Research Triangle which houses major development studios including Epic Games, Red Storm Entertainment, and Insomniac East.