Translating metaphors of animation

March 30, 2022

Headshot of Tyler Gorman

Technology encourages us to explore stories in new ways, and Tyler Gorman ’23 recognizes the expansive possibility of metaphor through animation.

Gorman presented his paper analyzing the narrative of the video game Little Nightmares at the Game Narrative Summit, a part of the 2022 Game Developers Conference hosted in San Francisco. He was among five gold winners that received the GDC Narrative Analysis Prize.

Gorman is pursuing a double major in game design and development and English, along with a theater minor. This project is an extension of an essay from a previous writing class, he said.

“The original paper is based on the camera view being unique as a dollhouse view. It is 2.5-dimensional, as it’s a 2D game set up with 3D assets,” said Gorman. “When I [began to focus] on narrative, I talk about how the game is an allegory for both child abuse and the foster system. The dollhouse view reminds me of how you’re trapped in a fabricated situation.”

He also analyzed how the tactility of the game is enriched for players.

“I played the game myself and I had a friend play the game to see how other people react to playing it,” said Gorman. “I looked at how mechanics worked for the dollhouse point-of-view. There is tilting, a unique mechanic that moves with motion, as the player is on a ship, and it sways a bit.”

Gorman shared these insights and more during a five-minute presentation at the Summit. While not wildly fond of public speaking, he was excited for the opportunity to network with executives and gaming companies in an ever-more competitive market, he said.

Gorman came to Quinnipiac as a game design major and soon took advantage of specialty studies within the field.

“I added music and writing, as what I like most about games is the story. I want to create worlds that people can enjoy almost timelessly,” he said. “I also take theater and screenwriting classes, so I can learn more about creating a worldview and dialogue.”

The Game Developers Conference took place on March 21 through March 25.

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