Narrative Urgency: Motivating Action in Interactive Digital Media

  • Bjørn Anker Gjøl
  • Niels Valentin Jørgensen
  • Luis Emilio BruniEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11869)


In this paper, we address specific problems related to the temporal development of narratives in games and interactive media in general. Game narratives can be inconsequential when they progress isolated from coherent temporal aspects, which in turn affects the possibility for pacing and experiencing a dramatic arc. The problem arises when the agency afforded to the players leads them to pursue non-narrative activities, which “put the story on hold”.

We introduce the concept of narrative urgency in interactive narratives as a means of discussing and avoiding this issue. While ‘agency’ is the potential to act in interactive narratives, ‘urgency’ would be the desire to do so in the narrative context. This may serve as a starting point for designers to explore how players can be motivated to take actions that enable optimal narrative coherency and enhance suspension of disbelief.


Interactive digital narratives Narrative-driven games Storytelling Narrative time Time frames Temporality Urgency Agency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bjørn Anker Gjøl
    • 1
  • Niels Valentin Jørgensen
    • 1
  • Luis Emilio Bruni
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Augmented Cognition LabAalborg University CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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