Almost since their inception, videogames have used narrative. Sometimes the narrative element has been implicit, other times open, but games have exploited narrative techniques, employed narrative suspense, and relied on narrative characters with ever greater sophistication. There is, however, debate over the role narrative plays in videogames. Is gameplay fundamentally distinct from narrative? Do we always subtlely try to narrativize our game experience? Does game narrative rely on the techniques of filmic and literary narrative? Does its creation of storyworlds make its narrative form distinctive and original? How do the narratives employed in videogames reflect and shape our sense of gender, race, sexuality, and national identity?
These and other question will be addressed at the inaugural International Conference on Games and Narrative, a fully virtual conference to be hosted by the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo. The conference will provide an opportunity to examine the intersection between videogames and narrative through a variety of online formats: live lectures, speaker panels, video essays, workshops, and live streaming gameplay with commentary and discussion. The entire conference will be available online, in formats designed for maximum accessibility.