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Manovich talks about video games such as Doom and Myst as pieces of media which combine navigable space and narrative elements.

The Metroid series combines these two elements in an interesting way. Particularly with earlier games in the series, the narrative is extremely non-linear, and based almost entirely off of the player’s choice of which space to explore. Like Myst, most spaces within the game are equally accessible and explorable. Metroid places a large emphasis on hidden areas: depths to old spaces, only accessible when the character has found the correct weapon or ability. In this way, the player revisits old spaces, but sees them in a new light: a change has occurred. This change is deeper than a new weapon or ability: it is a wizening of the player, a mental change – at the very least, the player has grown in his ability to control the game.

More recently, the 2013 video game Proteus deals with these conventions in another way. Upon starting a new game, the player finds himself floating in a body of water, with a light fog surrounding him. If the player moves forward, he starts to see a silhouette of land, which comes more and more into focus: a deserted island. The player can walk around the deserted island, and look at the landscape and some small animals and some unexplained buildings, but there are no objectives, “secret areas,” NPCs, or even timeline (save the passage of day->night->day). There is no narrative, save that of the *real* experience of the player – for a narrative has to develop, given time and immersion. If the world of Proteus’ island is taken as a valid world in which introspective growth can be accomplished (the thought comes to mind of the romantic hero ascending into the mountains to find himself), then narrative emerges in a way unlike that of other video games. Without the navigable space, this particular narrative will not exist, but it is not created by (or even housed by) the space. It is a “true” (at least, personal) narrative, drawn by a virtual experience.

“We are creating environments to just wander around inside of. People have been calling it a game for lack of anything better, and we’ve called it a game at times. But that’s not what it really is, it’s a world.”