The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Student to present ‘Journey’ thesis

A Drexel graduate student in the digital media program discovered Feb. 11 that he has been accepted to present his narrative review at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March.

Glenn Winters, who is in his third year of the digital media master’s program, won a spot in the GDC Narrative Review for a case study he conducted as part of his thesis.

Students from all over the world were invited to participate in the competition, for which they were required to write a high-level review on a game of their choice. Winters was one of three “platinum winners” — the highest level — out of thousands of applicants for his review of “Journey” by thatgamecompany, and he will receive an all-access pass to the conference. Narrative Review competition applicants usually base their papers on the script or story that occurs in a game, but Winters put his own spin on the project.

“I decided to take a . . . different approach and not just focus on the story,” Winters said. “I wanted to focus on how the game ‘Journey’ used visual narrative to communicate its story and its message.”

Winters will be presenting a poster of his review and answering questions March 25 and 26 during the conference, which will also give him the opportunity to interact with industry professionals while representing Drexel.

In his platinum-winning paper, Winters focused on the abstract nature of “Journey” and how players build their own story while playing the game. One of the main points that he touches on in his narrative review is the impact of emotional gameplay — how certain elements combine and work together to create an emotional statement.

The acceptance of Winters’ paper to the GDC Narrative Review could prove beneficial for Drexel, too; the University’s name will be on the paper and out in the open for all to see at the conference. The University is providing Winters with some financial assistance for travel expenses, and he said that Drexel has been really helpful thus far. “Drexel has been very supportive. They are excited to get that exposure,” he said.

Winters’ paper will become part of GDC’s permanent archive after he presents his poster at the conference.

The Narrative Review competition is in its sixth year, but this is the first time it is being held at the conference in San Francisco. GDC is the world’s largest and longest-running gaming industry event, which pulls in over 22,000 attendees. The conference includes five days of workshops and over 400 lectures on a selection of game topics.