Thryn Henderson

Exploring vignette game dynamics, and sharing agency in personal narrative through play

This research questions how and why vignette games are used so effectively as a tool to convey personal, often challenging, stories. It examines the use of scene, perspective and mechanic to understand better the conversation between player and author, and the notion of player agency as collaboration and commitment within play. The research is an interdisciplinary study centred in Game Design, working on the boundaries of HCI, Media Studies and Life Writing.

This work aims to provide a comprehensive and much needed overview of the genre (how the vignette game can be accurately described, the media-historical and sociocultural influences on the vignette game movement and ethos, and its value as a mode of modern narrative) to provide context to the central investigative goal: how do vignette game design methods design for agency of players and creators sharing personal experiences through play?

Thryn’s interest in gaming grows from a delight in telling stories. They endeavour to find the spaces where play incorporates and encourages collaborative narrative, poetry, theatre, activism, subversion, surprise and expression.

With a background in multimedia design and digital games production, most of Thryn’s work in playful media can be found in zines, cardboard installations, paper games, hidden screens, or roaming through the woods around the UK. Previous and ongoing projects involve Eargoat and VideoBrains event production, ME&R alt-game zine, the Furtive Shambles experimental gaming group, and the storytelling roleplay podcast These Flimsy Rituals.