Serious games are understood as games that have a purpose beyond entertainment, and are designed for the educational or behavior-change benefit of those who play them. However, the creation of text-based, choice-driven games presents an opportunity for therapeutic narratives that benefit the game authors as well as potential players. Although the benefits of storytelling for therapy has been previously established, these narratives were often linear in nature; the software program, Twine, enables technologically non-savvy authors to write branching narratives with multiple choices, creating an opportunity for an enhanced experience of cathartic storytelling. This paper includes a brief description of writing therapy models, including cognitive behavioral writing therapy (CWBT) and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), and how the thinking involved with creating choice-based narratives mimics those processes. Then, it moves into a brief introduction of Twine and how it is used to create non-linear narratives. Following that, the paper presents three self-reported cases of authors who have experienced catharsis and wellbeing benefits via the use of interactive storytelling with Twine, and how the creation of choice-based narratives enhanced this wellbeing experience. Finally, the paper presents advantages for introducing Twine in a formal therapy process, and practical considerations in doing so.
2nd Joint Conference on Serious Games (JCSG), Brisbane, Australia 26-27 September 2016
Serious Games: Second Joint International Conference, JCSG 2016, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, September 26-27, 2016, Proceedings / T. Marsh, M. Ma, M. F. Oliveira, J. B. Hauge, S. Gobel (eds): Vol. 9894, pp.89-103