Wayfaring in space: Story as environmental encounters in Ruins (2011) and Sacramento (2016)

Jenna Pei-Suin Ng, Richard Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers how story arises out of exploratory virtual environments, specifically in the context of so-called “wandering games,” or more popularly known as “walking simulators.” Inspired by scholarship on environmental storytelling (Jenkins 2004) and “ambient literature,” (Dovey 2016a; Dovey 2016b; Abba, Dovey and Pullinger 2021) we present a conceptualisation of story out of what we call “environmental encounters.” In the case of walking simulators, we argue that these encounters are engagements with the works’ virtual environments as perceived by the user through a trinomial framework of perspective, movement and environmental design. We illustrate such encounters for story through close readings of audiovisual engagement with virtual environments in two interactive media tutor texts, Ruins (2011) and Sacramento (2016). In thinking about alternative understanding of the conceptual spaces in which to conceive story, we also contemplate the richness and potential of contemporary interactive storytelling for meaning-making, affective conditions and experiential evocation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Techno-Humanities
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Mar 2022


  • Walking simulators
  • Ambient literature
  • Environmental storytelling
  • Story
  • Interactive media
  • Ruins
  • Sacramento

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