Game studies Wiki

In the field of game studies, Story refers to the underlying sequence of events in a game's fiction. Proponents of narratology privilege this particular trait of games to highlight their potential as storytelling mediums, as opposed to ludologists who focus more on a game's mechanics.

In The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, game designer Jesse Schell describes Story as "the sequence of events that unfolds in [a] game" (Schell 41). It is one of the four parts of his Elemental Tetrad, equally impactful to a game's overall experience as the elements of mechanicsaesthetics, and technology are. 

Schell describes the common dream of a completely interactive story -- something that would ideally "make the participant feel like they are in the greatest movie ever made, while still having complete freedom of choice" -- is not a realistic one for games, at least at this time (264). This is not only because technology cannot support the amount of possible outcomes required for such an endeavor, but also because video games place an emphasis on action rather than internal struggle and the ability to restart a story makes genres like tragedy extremely difficult to emulate (269). Instead, Schell lists two types of story structures that have worked in games: the string of pearls method and the story machine method (264-265). 

For Schell, story is a major doorway into a game's transmedial world, a concept that bears a strong resemblance to Jesper Juul's concept of fictional worlds.