Branching Fiction Map

Interactive Fictions & Narrative Games

ENGL 370-002 / TuTh 12:30-13:45 / HLG 320

Pr. John Laudun / HLG 356 /


Branching narratives, interactive fiction, text adventures, CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) all describe a form of entertainment—be it literary, performed in a group, or in a video game—in which a reader is given choices and their choices determine the nature and outcome of the story. This course explores the history of narrative games, from collaborative storytelling in oral cultures to the robust open-world games to cinematic universes in which multiple storylines exist (and sometimes interact). Course inputs include reading, viewing, and playing. Course outputs include analytical explorations of forms and mechanisms and the development of fictions of your own.


This course aims to provide participants with the necessary tools and skills to analyze and, at least begin, to create narrative games. To do this, participants will need to master: foundational concepts in narrative studies and game studies, experiment with a variety of game mechanics, engage others collaboratively (and occasionally competitively), document their work both individually and collectively, and be able to present their work to an audience.




Game Theory


Go to Play the game. Write down two things: (1) Implications of the game theory behind “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” for game design and (2) the implications for life.