In 2002, we started a research on the narrative convergence between film and games [1, 12], which lead us to participate in the european project Inscape (2004-2008) [2], where we came to identify the lack of specific emotional dimensions in the dramatization of interactive stories, which was agreed by the research community [3], but that also impacted the game creator Jenova Chen (2006) [4] while doing his master thesis prototype “Cloud”, with such relevance that he then continued to pursue solutions for the emotional problem, we’ve aided to identify, through a fully commercial and internationally acclaimed american videogame “Journey” (2012). From our side, we continued to develop the research, and in 2006 we presented internationally a model, that we called “passive interactivity”, to address this emotional problem, and again it was well received by the scientific community [5], as by the industry. We were able to identify in another commercial and award winning french videogame of 2010, “Heavy Rain” [6], this exact model of “passive interactivity” being applied as defined by us. This knowledge served to continue the innovation of interactive and digital storytelling approaches into new platforms of communication technology. In 2012, we secured research funds from FCT (2012-2015) to study a new approach to the telling of stories through digital books [7]. We wanted to go beyond the mere multitouch interface being claimed by Apple, through the iPad launched in 2010, as the future for reading. For that we proposed a hybrid book, making use of paper and tablet, with no cables neither batteries, which would develop a new model for interactive storytelling, that we defined as “bridging book” (2013) and that was very well received by the international press (e.g. Time, Gizmodo, CNET) [8,9,10]. This model was then applied into a method that came to be fully standardised in the terms of an international patent in 2014 [11], that was then bought by one big company in Hong Kong, Hung Hing Printing. From 2015 onwards we've dedicated our research to push more in depth two research interests: Narrative Design; and Play and Game Engagement.

Narrative Design (2015...)
Zagalo, Nelson, (2019). Design de narrativa, desenho de significado na experiência interativa. Convocarte — Revista de Ciências da Arte. No.7., ISSN 2183–6973 [PDF]
Legeren Lago, B., & Zagalo, N. (2019). Diseño de Mundos-Historia (Storyworld Design), monográfico in ICONO14 - Revista Científica De Comunicación Y Tecnologías Emergentes, 17(1), pp.188. DOI: 10.7195/ri14.v17i1.1306 [link]
Neves, P., Morgado, L., & Zagalo, N. (2018). Videogame Agency as a Bio-costs Contract. Journal Of Science And Technology Of The Arts, 10(1), 2- 43-53. DOI: 10.7559/citarj.v10i1.524 [PDF]
Zagalo, N., Merino, F., (2018), Narrativa, Media e Cognição, Special Issue of Journal of Communication Studies, nº27, Vol.2, University of Beira Interior, pp. 141, ISSN: 1646-4974, DOI: 10.20287/ec.n27.v2 [PDF]
Zagalo, N. (2017). Narrative Design of Sadness in Heavy Rain. in Journal Of Science And Technology Of The Arts, 9 (2), 47-56. DOI: 10.7559/citarj.v9i2.246, ISSN: 1646-9798 [PDF]
Sousa, Marta N.; Martins, Moisés L. & Zagalo, Nelson (2016) Transmedia Storytelling: The roles and stakes of the different participants in the process of a convergent story, in divergent media and artefacts, in Lugmayr, A. & Dal Zotto, C. (eds.) (2016) "Media Convergence Handbook - vol. 2", Berlin: Springer, pp. 117-135. ISBN: 978-3-642-54486-6
Zagalo, N., Sicart, M., Ferreira, E., (Eds.) (2015), Videogame Communication: Expressivity, Intermediality and Narrative, issue of "Communication & Society", Volume 27, 2015, pp.448, ISSN: 1645-2089 [PDF]

Play and Game Engagement (2015...)
Zagalo, Nelson, (2019). Multimodality and Expressivity in Videogames. (OBS*) Observatório, Vol.13, N.1, ISSN:1646-5954. DOI: 10.15847/obsOBS13120191411 [PDF]
Sylla, C., Pereira, I., Brooks, E., Zagalo, N. (2018). t-books: A block interface for young children’s narrative construction. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, Elsevier, Available online 26 July 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcci.2018.07.002
Zagalo, Nelson, (2018), Jogos digitais na infância, in Ponte, C. (Ed) "Boom Digital? Crianças (3-8 anos) e ecrãs", ERC – Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social, 978-989-99607-5-6 [PDF]
Marques, A., Gaspar, R., Zagalo, N., (2017), Arbor: Interactive Sculpture - From the Tree of Letters to the Tree of Words, in International Journal of Creative Interfaces and Computer Graphics, 8(1), DOI: 10.4018/IJCICG.2017010103 [PDF]
Nelson Zagalo, Ana Amélia Carvalho & Inês Araújo, (2016), Elementos do design de videojogos que fomentam o interesse dos jogadores. Revista Educação, Sociedade & Culturas, número 48, CIIE/Edições Afrontamento, ISSN: 0872-7643 [PDF]
Nelson Zagalo & Pedro Branco (Eds.), (2015), Creativity in the Digital Age, in Springer Series on Cultural Computing, Springer-Verlag London, UK, p.269, ISBN: 978-1-4471-6681-8, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4471-6681-8

For a complete list of publications, projects and academic research visit Ciencia Vitae or ResearchGate.


[1] Zagalo, N., Branco, V., Barker, A., From the Necessity of Film Closure to Inherent VR Wideness, 2nd International Conference on Virtual Storytelling, in Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, Vol. 2897, 2003. (pp.74-77), ISBN: 978-3-540-20535-7
[2] European Project (2004-2008): INSCAPE - Interactive Storytelling for Creative People , (EC FP6-IST IP-004150),
[3] Zagalo N., Torres A., & Branco, V., (2005), Emotional Spectrum developed by Virtual Storytelling, 3rd International Conference on Virtual Storytelling, in Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, Volume 3805/2005. (pp.105-114), ISBN: 978-3-540-30511-8
[4] Fullerton, T., Chen, J., Santiago, K., Nelson, E., Diamante, V., Meyers, A., ... & DeWeese, J. (2006, July). That cloud game: dreaming (and doing) innovative game design. In Proceedings of the 2006 ACM SIGGRAPH symposium on Videogames (pp. 51-59). ACM.
[5] Zagalo N., Torres A., Branco, V., (2006), Passive Interactivity, an Answer to Interactive Emotion, 5th International Conference on Entertainment Computing, in Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, Volume 4161/2006, ISBN: 3-540-45259-1
[6] Zagalo, N. (2017). "Narrative Design of Sadness in Heavy Rain". in Journal Of Science And Technology Of The Arts, 9 (2), 47-56. DOI: 10.7559/citarj.v9i2.246, ISSN: 1646-9798
[7] FCT Project (2012-2015): engageBook: touch, read and play , (FCT PTDC/CCI-COM/119030/2010),
[8] Gizmodo, 2013,
[9] CNET, 2013,
[10] Time, 2013,
[11] Figueiredo, A.C, Pinto, A.L., Branco, P., Zagalo, N., (2014), Interactive Book Electronic System And Operation Method, Patent Pub. No.: WO/2014/170840, International Application No.: PCT/IB2014/060761, Publication Date:23.10.2014, International Filing Date:16.04.2014
[12] Zagalo, N., (2007), Convergência entre o Cinema e a Realidade Virtual, (Convergence between Film and Virtual Reality), Tese de Doutoramento (PhD Thesis), Departamento de Comunicação e Arte, Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal

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