9.7. Show Not TellΒΆ

So how do we deliver exposition - the information a player needs to know - in an engaging way? One of the first lessons aspiring novel and screen writers need to learn is show not tell. When there is information that the reader needs to understand your story or characters, it is tempting to just tell that information to them. Generally it is much more engaging in any medium to see something happen than be told about it: to see (or read about) a character breaking down in tears after watching a comrade die than to be told “Joe was devastated that Sally died”.

In video games, where the player generally expects to be in control and not passively listening to hours of dialog, this is even more important. Here Extra Credits talks about why and how to show instead of tell:

Materials on this page adapted from:
Game Design Concepts by Ian Schreiber (CC BY-NC 3.0)