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Game Narrative Summit: The Dramaturgy of Video Games: Theatre, Story and Empathy

Abby Sherlock  (Graduate MFA Student, University of Southern California)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 21

Time: 1:20 pm - 1:50 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass, All Access Online Only Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Game Narrative

Format: Session

Viewing Experience: In-Person/Virtual Livestream

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: No

Today there are immersive theatre companies, LARPing communities, escape rooms, and more genres that play with the adjacent worlds of theatre and game design. But what about these two worlds that are so different brings them together: one tracing back to multiple millennium bygone religious rituals, and one that technically emerged in the 20th century in a MIT Lab? Forged together by their common enterprise of enlisting active empathy within their audience or player, video games and theatre serve as the two most powerful devices for bringing up visceral emotion in those who encounter it. One by the conduit of performance and another by the use of modern technology, the end goal can be the same. This talk will cover the practice of dramaturgy for video games, player empathy within design, and what we as game creators can borrow from the oldest art form around.


Attendees will gain an insight into the practice of dramaturgy and it's overlapping objectives that are similar to video game worlds. The audience will learn more about the experience of active empathy and performance plus ways we can increase this relationship within the development of game design processes.

Intended Audience

Developers, designers, animators, audio engineers, writers, producers, business developer dev, artists, and stakeholders Triple A and indie who are interested in video games as a conduit of empathy, storytelling and most vital impactful experiences for players. No prior knowledge required but former theatre kids more than encouraged.