A good tv series is addictive, a good film makes people cry. The emotions people experience in a film might be transferable into serious gaming (games that serve a purpose), for instance "a loosing weight game/ calorie tracker". Might it be possible to transfer the techniques a script editor/ dramaturge/ story teller applies to a web application? Is there already an example or a theory?

  • Sorry but SchroedingersCat said so already. Sep 17, 2011 at 19:47
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "serious" gaming, could you elaborate? A video game can have a sad or serious story as much as any novel or movie. If you're talking about life-related "games" like a weight tracker(?) like you seem to be talking about I'm less sure. You'll have to be more explicit about the nature of the application/game.
    – Ben Brocka
    Sep 17, 2011 at 20:31
  • if you are not 'sure' what serious gaming means I don't trust your answer anyhow. try this lmgtfy.com/?q=serious+gaming Sep 17, 2011 at 22:02
  • There's no need to be (blatantly) rude. I'm a gamer and I've certainly never heard of "serious gaming" as a solid concept, you can always include links to articles describing concepts like a "Serious Game" to differentiate them from a "game" that is "serious"
    – Ben Brocka
    Sep 17, 2011 at 23:48
  • 1
    Everyone who voted to close: please help Roo by explaining why you feel this wasn't a real question. Thanks! :-)
    – Rahul
    Sep 19, 2011 at 13:35

4 Answers 4


A web application does need a storyboard. This is less about the entertainment factor, and more about the flow of a process through the application. The "story" is more the user journey through the processes - there will often be a few, and a few subplots too.

The right sort of drama for a web app is one one that is completely predictable, easy to follow, and with no twists. That is as hard to do as a complex dramatic script it would seem, as far too many applications have unexpected plot twists in them.

And applications that make users cry are generally a mistake. I have seen users crying and it is generally a bad move.

  • I like your pun about users crying. Sep 17, 2011 at 18:01
  • I restricted my question to serious gaming! sorry if this makes your answer look strange!! Sep 17, 2011 at 19:53
  • In that context, then yes, some drama is good. But don't let the storytelling overcome the serious intent. Personally, I love story games, like Riven ( from years ago ), and all of the dramatic aspects of that. But it was a game, no more. Combining this with a serious purpose is complex. Sep 17, 2011 at 20:20

If you want to create a serious game, then you definitely need some kind of story. This narrative framing can be expressed by visuals, text, and/or interaction.

A good introduction for game-based learning applications is Ang+Zaphiris (2005): Developing enjoyable second language learning software software tools: A computer game paradigm. It distinguishes the perspectives of Ludology (the "fun" aspect) from Narratology (the "story" aspect), analysing "typical" games first, then applying it to language learning.

But as others have answered, the game aspect can be more or less useful, and can be used to different extents. Mailchimp, for example, provides an interesting, informal experience, yet doesn't make sending mails a "game".


The purpose of a good film or tv series is to entertain. Usually the purpose of a web application is to perform a task of some kind. Unless the goal of your app is to entertain, you may want to rethink combining aspects with very different purposes.

For me a good app is one that gets out of my way and lets me do what I need as simply as possible. Adding drama to that would just annoy me and encourage me to find another app to use.


Roo, if your intent is to build a web-based game, then absolutely have drama as part of the game itself. For example, the recent French production 'Hard Rain' is well known for its drama and depth of storyline, following multiple characters through a complex situation where the gamer's choices have real consequences, including life and death of the main characters.

If your goal is to provide drama in a similar setting then that sounds both interesting and valuable to the further development of web gaming. However, interfaces outside the game itself (such as settings, account, etc.) should always be predictable and easy to use. As pointed out in Schroedinger's Cat's answer, you never want to make users cry out of anything except emotion for the game itself.

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