Marie's room is a free story exploration game as the name suggests the game takes place within Marie's room you play as Kelsey Marie's friend as she returns to Marie's house as an
adult upon entering the room you enter Kelsey's memory of the space from 20 years prior. You explore the room examining items as you go you learn about both friends and that complex relationship through the dialogue from Casey and the diary entries from Marie the narrative driven exploration genre has been increasing in popularity recently primarily amongst indie game developers. Although this isn't the best execution I've seen that still lies with Takoma it is still very well-made especially for a free game, I do love that you get to see events unfold from each of the friends perspectives and get a more complex picture of what unfolded. The writing is very strong and works well regardless of what order you uncover the information, the game builds a strong atmosphere in sense of place the use of music and the overall visual design is really well done. I especially like the scrapbook feel of the diary, my only reservation is that the ending feels a little rushed or just not as well implemented as the rest of the game. I would have liked to learn more of the final details by exploring the room some more rather than just watching the cutscene that takes place, I do like the style of this cutscene but I just feel the information could have been revealed in a more interactive fashion, there are a few small puzzle elements in the form of working out passwords and a combination codes. These aren't too complex and if you are stuck the game does help you out after a while by dropping little hints rather than having a focus on puzzle solving these exist is an effective way of making sure you receive some important details in a certain order to maximize the impact these revelations will have. It's a nice way to bring structure to an otherwise open story none of the events are depicted in any visual detail mostly through text and dialogue alone. However, I do feel it is necessary to give a few content warnings for discussions of domestic violence and home invasions if you enjoy story exploration games I
would recommend giving this one a go. It is important to remember that this is a free game and so isn't as long or polished as other similar titles however it is a solid entry in the genre and definitely worth the hour of your time.
Whenever there is a talk about narrative design, it tends to end up being a laundry list of examples of how the environment can be used to communicate the backstory of the game world without cutscenes. This talk is different: rather than just focusing on the backstory, we are going to explore how environmental design creates opportunities for gameplay. The focus will be on leaving traces and indications in the space, both by the designers and the players. This is called "indexical storytelling," because interpreting and engaging with these traces is the core of narrative gameplay. These traces are systematically classified depending on their type: they can turn the player into a detective, help create an identity, teach the player what to do (or not) and how, give a sense of progress or mess up with other players.
Indexical Storytelling is divided into a few parts when actually put into practice below I have gotten into a little more detail about how things work and what questions are asked during the devising of storytelling using this method:
1) Lets just take a backdrop or a history of a World and how the player can discover it
What has happened in the environment before?
How has it left a trace in the space?
How can the player retrace the traces to reconstruct the scene?
Interpretation of Remains
Who has been in the space before the player?
How does the player relate to the people who were there before?
Signposts and Tutorials
How do they make sense?
What traces can the player leave?
How can they leave traces?
Who can read those traces?
How does leaving traces create changes in the world for storytelling/gameplay?
These are a few questions I've made a point to ask myself to move forward when I come up with stories.