Narrative Design in Gorogoa

Gorogoa has no dialogue, incredibly simple controls and unique gameplay but it tells a deep story through illustration and gameplay. I’m hoping to design my narrative in my illustration so chose to think about Gorogoa.

The player has no influence over the linear story, except that Gorogoa is a game that inspires our own imagination.

So what is Gorogoa? Apparently it “was the name of an imaginary monster that he invented when he (Roberts) was a child” (Kotaku). And Gorogoa has that child-like freedom of expression and fantasy, at times delicately straying on scary although just enough to keep things interesting.

The interactivity and core mechanics of the game inform the story, you start with still images and move them around until they fit into place. The work is hand-drawn and a story-book feel. Roberts took inspiration from his trip to Istanbul and as a result, his illustrations are reminiscent of mysterious and ancient Byzantine religion and architecture.

Roberts initially neglected the narrative and the game part of his game, “I just drew a bunch of pictures that I wanted to draw, that were fun to draw. I came up with a bunch of imagery and didn’t think through what it meant. The drawing part was so exciting sometimes that it would lure me off the path of making a good game.”

The core of the narrative design according to Roberts the human search for meaning in life (Kotaku). Discovering the next path or picture, and seeing where you travel, this exploration through Gorogoa as well as the obvious love of art history and visual puzzles that resonates through the illustration is what makes the game inspiring and beautiful.

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Fig 1. Gorogoa [official website]

List of Figures

Fig 1. Gorogoa http://gorogoa.com/

References

‘Jason Roberts Interview: Creating Gorogoa Required Awkwardness and Chaos’. 2018. VentureBeat [online]. Available at: https://venturebeat.com/2018/07/05/jason-roberts-interview-creating-gorogoa-required-awkwardness-and-chaos/ [accessed 18 Feb 2021].

‘The Puzzle Of A Lifetime’. 2021. Kotaku [online]. Available at: https://kotaku.com/the-puzzle-of-a-lifetime-1821235999 [accessed 18 Feb 2021].