Database for Animation Studies


The player’s perspective as message: narrative composition in novel-game Higurashi no naku koroni.

This essay analyzes Higurashi no naku koroni, a novel-game about serial murder cases, privileging the relation between its narrative content and structure. This discussion clarifies the process that enables novel-games to function as a distinctive media form. Novel-games are based on the principle of adventure-games with
"multi-endings," in which players identify with protagonists and choose their own actions to reach the "best possible ending." The structure of such adventure-games generates a unique first person, and this feature is imitated in Higurashi no naku koroni. But, in this particular game, it is impossible to solve murder cases only from the point of view of the protagoni sts: the overlapping viewpoints of several actors are required. The unique first person in novel-games must be dissolved. But this disbanding requires that players participate in the story as a "game.'' It means that the work attempts simultaneously to renounce and create its own special property as a game. This feature of Higurashi no naku koroni demonstrates that the originality of "games" as a story-telling media are an integral part of the structure of the game itself.

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