Good news: Organizers of the Game Developers Conference and its Game Narrative Summit are happy to winners of this year’s edition of the annual Student Narrative Analysis Competition — all of whom will receive passes to attend the conference next month!
Every year, leading game design programs at universities across the country integrate this competition into their academic curricula; participating students are challenged to conduct a detailed structured analysis of the narrative elements of a video game of their choice.
The resulting papers are submitted to the GDC Game Narrative Summit advisors for review, and the entrants with the most promising submissions are then invited to present poster sessions of their work to their future professional peers at the Game Narrative Summit.
Past winners have explored a variety of games in their sessions, from big-budget blockbuster games to smaller, critically-acclaimed indie titles, including games renowned for their storytelling and games designed with no formal narrative at all. All have produced consistently produced incisive, bold analysis that foreshadows the contributions they are poised to someday make to the field of game narrative.
This year’s competition featured a strong group of entrants from schools across the country and around the world. Without further ado, here are the winners, the schools they attend and the games they’ll be deconstructing:
- John C. Myres, DigiPen (Inside)
- Keltie Wright, Sheridan (Oxenfree)
- Nikhil Kashyap, Carnegie Mellon (The Walking Dead)
- Nuha Alkadi, Sheridan (Her Story)
- Trent Steen, Dakota State University (Zero Time)
- Kristian Skistad, Dakota State University (Brothers)
- Mostafa Haque, NYU (Dark Souls 3)
- Nathan Golen, Dakota State University (Kessen II)
- Michel Sabbagh, WPI (Thief: The Dark Project)
- Desiree Cifre, NYU (Life Is Strange)
- Calvin Walantus, UC Santa Cruz (Dark Souls)
- Shiloh Roberts, DigiPen (Persona 4 Golden)
- Christina Lu, NYU (Until Dawn)
- Yakin Najani, WPI (Soma)
- Ryan Bobell, USC (Emily Is Away)
- Stav Hinenson, DigiPen (Sunless Sea)
- Samson Jinks, DigiPen (Life Is Strange)
- Vikingur Oskarsson, George Mason (Wolfenstein: The New Order)
- Jung-ho Sohn, USC (Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number)
- Kaleb Nekumanesh, DigiPen (Life Is Strange)
- Maria Salmon, RPI (I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream)
- Fanghong Dong, RPI (Tomb Raider)
- Janice Ho, RPI (Transistor)
- Leah Talbot, NYU (Alien: Isolation)
- Andrea Rieck, DigiPen (Super DangonRonpa 2: Goodbye Despair)
The Platinum winners will receive an all-access pass to this year’s GDC, while the Gold winners will receive an expo pass. All winners have the opportunity to present a poster session highlighting their work on the show floor (specifically, in West Hall overlooks 1 and 2) and those sessions will be available for public viewing after the show on the GDC Vault.
GDC and the Game Narrative Summit would like to extend its congratulations to all the winners, and to all of the entrants whose fine work made judging this year’s competition both challenging and a labor of love.