House on Mango Street


It’s long overdue, but I finally finished House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I have been super busy with a number of projects recently, but this past weekend I decided to set aside some time to finish the book. What I particularly enjoyed about the story is the way in which it unfolded and kept me wanting more. In fact, many of my favorite stories have the ability to draw me in and keep me turning the pages to find out what happens next, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed House on Mango Street.

Today I started telling some of the other mechanics about the story. Although I don’t really consider myself a great storyteller, they seemed to be hanging on every word I said! After this experience, I started to think to myself if there was some way to use the power of a captivating story to design captivating games in Gamestar.

After doing a little research I discovered that the basic formula for a story is made up of three parts: the setup, the confrontation and the resolution. The setup is the part of the story that is used to establish the main characters, their relationships and the world they live in for the reader. In addition, the setup ends with a dramatic, life-changing situation in which the main character raises a question that is most often answered at the end of the story.

The confrontation, also called the rising action, is the part of the story that has the main character attempting to solve the problem that they encountered at the end of the first part. Often, the main character is unable to solve this problem because they don’t have the skills it takes to deal with the challenge confronting them.

The resolution is the final part of the story, where the main character is finally able to conquer the problem they were presented with in the first part of the story. This part of the story typically includes a climax, which is the part where the tension and conflict of the story are brought to their most intense point.

In addition to this simple structure, I also discovered that many stories devote specific amounts of time to each portion of the story. The confrontation, where the main character must learn the skills to overcome the problem of the story, is given half of the story, where the setup and confrontation are given one-quarter each.

Knowing all of this information, it’s not too difficult to imagine building games around the structure and principles of a written story. In fact, it might be interesting to recreate stories I like, such as House on Mango Street, in my Workshop and share them in Game Alley.