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For the third year in a row, a DigiPen student placed in the platinum category of the Game Developers Conference’s Student Narrative Analysis competition. Bachelor of Arts in Game Design student John C. Myres won platinum for his analysis of the indie puzzle platformer Inside. This year, John was joined by five other DigiPen students in the gold category.

Those students and the games they covered are:

  • Shiloh Roberts, Persona 4 Golden
  • Stav Hinenzon, Sunless Sea
  • Samson Jinks, Life Is Strange
  • Kaleb Nekumanesh, Life Is Strange
  • Andrea Rieck, Super DangonRonpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Platinum winners receive an all-access pass to the conference, while gold winners get expo passes. All winners get the chance to present their analysis in the form of a stylized poster during the GDC Narrative Summit, as well as the chance to network with other people in the field.

“Submissions are reviewed, ranked, and selected by professionals who work as writers and designers in the game industry,” said Dr. Claire Joly, professor of humanities and social sciences at DigiPen. “As demonstrated by the reviews and the posters, games are a medium well suited for stories and can rival any other artistic medium out there.”

In the case of Inside, the subject of John’s platinum-winning analysis, the game features no dialogue, and the plot is communicated almost entirely by contextual cues, such as lighting and sound effects.

I have loved writing from an early age and have been particularly interested in the role of narrative in games.”

“I chose to write about Inside because I found its expression utterly compelling,” John says. “The story they tell is not new to science fiction, though it is by no means stale. Its method of execution felt rare and new to me.”

He says his submission was inspired by his friend and fellow student Izzy Abdus-Sabur, who won platinum last year for his analysis of Darkest Dungeon. Izzy tapped John for his Darkest Dungeon expertise while working on that project, and the seed was planted.

“I have loved writing from an early age and have been particularly interested in the role of narrative in games,” John says. “When an email went out early last semester announcing an information session for the contest, I had to attend.”

He looked over the requirements and thought it would, if nothing else, make for a fun project.

“I honestly just wanted to get my ideas out there,” John says. “I knew that even if nothing came of it I would at least have some more experience under my belt.”

Now, come this February, he’ll have the opportunity to present those ideas to some of the game industry’s top narrative designers. Congratulations to John and all the other DigiPen winners!

John and his fellow winners’ work will be published on the GDC Vault after the conference is over, and you can check out winning submissions from previous years there right now.