Yoko Taro – Backward Script Writing.

Meet Yoko Taro.


Yes, he basically always wears the Emil mask as he doesn’t like to show his face in public…ironically within his GDC talk which I’m going to be writing about he’s not wearing his mask, although he did ask for people not to record or take photos…I guess he forgot GDC panels are all filmed and uploaded to the internet but enough about the mask let’s get into it.

Yoko Taro is a Japanese game designer and scenario writer, known mostly for creating the cult hit Drakengard series and most recently the highly anticipated and unanimously praised NieR: Automata. Taro is known for his stories being dark and convoluted with numerous story lines intertwining to create the game world in which the player inhabits. While I’d love to go to deconstruct what makes his games so good ill save that for another time. Today’s piece I want to focus on Taro’s unique way of storytelling and how he is able to weave so much life and emotion into his tales.

So you may be thinking “Adam, this is literature not game design, why should we listen to Yoko Taro?” to which I would respond “Because the mans a genius when it comes to telling dark stories that evoke true emotion within his audience in a market oversaturated with first person shoot them up murder simulators devoid of any feeling other than, ‘Gee my kill to death ratio is super swell’.” Don’t get me wrong sometimes I love switching my brain off and blasting away hordes of monsters with my chainsaw gun but sometimes I also love to be completely engaged snd immerse my self within a fictional world of wonder, and immersing his audience in intrinsic intertwining stories Is something Yoko Taro has seemingly mastered. So let’s look how Taro manages to do this consistently on his projects. It all starts with the way he approaches story telling.
I’m sure at one time in your life you’ve been reading a book, watching a movie or TV show or even playing a game where a moment that is supposed to be impactful happens and you just sit there thinking, “I really don’t care”. This Is due to poor storytelling, something Yoko Taro has been able to overcome.

Taro gave a great talk a GDC2016 (game developers conference), his talk titled “creating weird games for weird people” in which he details the method to his madness. Taro tells his audience that when he wants to write a story he doesn’t just start writing characters or scenarios he writes down what emotion he wants to convey. Let’s use his own example with this which was a breakdown of his game NieR. The first feeling Taro wants the player to feel is sadness. But how do we make someone feel sad? Let’s make them sad by killing someone. But why would we feel sad if someone dies? Maybe this person was innocent? Maybe they were having a special day? So let’s make the person who dies a young woman on her wedding day. Already you can see where this is leading right? With this kind of story layering Taro gives us a reason to give a crap about what’s going on. We want to care about this young woman, we have been shown why the day was so important to her and I think Taro has tapped into our subconscious by using certain troupes like the young innocent woman. When someone is innocent yet treated so badly we extinctively want to see the wrong be righted. Wanting this wrong to be righted fuels us to continue on the journey and in return we are met with more emotions and reasons to give a crap about these characters and stories.


Taro calls this method of constantly layering story elements “Backward Scriptwriting” where we start with an emotion and work our way back as to why we would feel this emotion. These reasons are then placed throughout the game. Taro does this multiple times, layering emotions and reasons to why we would feel these emotions until a fully-fledged world is created.

An example of one emotional peak and its reasoning.

taro3And an example of a complete games story.

If you would like to see this great talk for yourself just click here or the link under his picture at the top and give it a watch, if you’re interested in storytelling at all then it should be a good watch.

Literature Blog Entry #6 (Week 8)

Man, these blog entries/weeks are getting me confused! If I go back and rename my blogs to match the weeks instead of “# whatever” you now know why. This post will probably be pretty long so I’ll add a TL:DR at the bottom, or if that’s to much work just click here to watch a 22 second Rick and Morty clip that, in a sense, captures my feelings on the subject written below.

For this week I wanted to create my own topic, and seeing as how last week was centred around Universities and the freedoms/benefits of breaking free of its shackles and going to live as a gypsy to acquire some sort of wisdom. I wanted to throw my two cents in about what is happening with Universities in the western world right now. Now admittingly a lot of this will be aimed at American colleges and universities (Oh boy I bet you can already guess which ones are coming up in this post) however, I do know that these issues are also starting to arise in Australian universities too. So with that out of the way let’s jump in shall we?

*This post may rustle some jimmies. If your jimmies are rustled I’m not sorry.*

So to say things bluntly universities/colleges in my opinion (again more so in America but it’s starting to creep into some Australian Uni’s) are becoming a joke. Universities and colleges were once seen as instutions in which people could learn, grow and broaden their horizons not only in the subject they are studying but of their life in general. This was done through meeting new people, listening to opposing views of either students or teachers and truly learning your own values. This, however, is something that is slowly dying, or if you are in America has been dead for a while now. With the rise of the social justice culture we live in, where everything can be construed as racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted, offensive or deemed a nazi or a fascist we are losing the vital skills of growing as individuals and constructively thinking for ourselves and are instead automatically labelling everything and anything that doesn’t conform to our own ideologies as evil.

Prime examples of this come from both sides, and yes this is about to go slightly political, hence the jimmy rustling warning. We see it every day in the media, the western world since Trump did the impossible and became the President of the United States, the western world has been split in two, and your either now a far left libtard snowflake who believes in 72 genders. Or you’re a racist far right neo nazi fascist white supremacist. There is no longer an in between, your either left or right, well that’s according to the internet and media.


So why am I talking about all of this? Well, remember when I said, “Universities and colleges were once seen as institutions in which people could learn, grow and broaden their horizons” but now they’re a joke? That’s largely due to these Left and Right politics or as we hip young cool kids want to call it “social justice warriors and Anti-social justice warriors”. These two groups have basically destroyed the dream of having a university or college that tolerates different views and allows speakers who believe in different opinions. And what happens when any speaker from the right (And remember if your right leaning your basically Hitler) comes to speak on any topic that opposes social justice ie Feminism, men’s rights and even free speech itself? Ironically they are shut down with violent rioting while simultaneously deeming those who wanted to speak and attend the talks, fascists. Now I’m no fancy lawyer but isn’t shutting down an event with violence because it doesn’t agree with your ideology practically the definition of what a fascist movement would do?

Nothing says peaceful protest like burning down and vandalising your own city causing upwards of 100k in damages.

Now this subject is huge, and honestly, I could type pages and pages of stuff analysing and critiquing both sides and their actions but I want to stay semi-relevant to the topic of university and what they represent, or at least should represent. To close this already long post off I will just leave you with some parting words.

Universities, colleges and other tertiary education facilities should NOT be a safe space to echo your own beliefs and values. Universities and colleges should be places in which EVERY view is equally valid and why you may not agree with it, they should have the same right to have those beliefs and values. You as a university student should actively encourage having your point of view challenged and confronted, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. If you can not back your views up in your own words then maybe take a step back and ask yourself “why do I hold these views? Do I truly believe in them?” I know I have done this many times on multiple stances I’ve had in the past. It is perfectly acceptable to change your views based on information you receive, that is how we learn and grow as individuals. And lastly, don’t just get information from one place and base all of your assertions upon this one piece of evidence, listen to opposing views and form your own opinion through hearing both sides, you may be surprised what you learn about yourself.

TL:DR: Social Justice and Anti-Social justice movements, in my opinion, are causing universities to become a joke. Learn to listen to the other sides reasoning and don’t just blindly through accusations at those who disagree with your views.

Peer Review #3

This week I chose to critique Alina’s letter to Mr. Gradgrind.


“Hi Alina, hope you don’t mind but I thought I’d use your entry to do my review on. I was looking to read someone’s letter to Mr. Gradgind and yours was the first I found.
I think you articulated your feelings towards Mr. Gradginds raising of Louise, my favorite line was “Put simply, she has been robbed of her childhood and as a consequence, she has become silent and detached.” as this feels like a direct verbal smack to Mr. Gradginds well deserved face. However, I think you could have gotten away with being a lot more punchey when it came to telling him off, but at the same time, I can understand why you chose to remain calm within your writing.

I look forward to seeing more of your posts in the future, have a great week!


Blog Entry #4

This week I’ve decided to look at http://victorianweb.org/ (which totally looks like an early 90’s website) and see how useful it truly is. For this, I decided to do it in the style of a review. So saying that let’s get into it.

A bit about http://victorianweb.org/:
So you’re trying to learn about Victorian Era literature, but where do you go? My guess is most people at that point are already typing into google to find the first Wikipedia idle connected to the subject. Well instead head on over to http://victorianweb.org/. This site has a whole bunch of information about Victorian Era literature all in one, albeit rather dated looking site, ran by scholars who are experts in the field of Victorian Literature. I’m going to break this down into a couple of categories and give them a rating followed by an overall rating at the end, so strap in, get your old-timey monocles out and let’s go.

This site has a lot of information, and I don’t just mean a lot, I mean, A LOT, and it’s all verified by professionals of the field. You want a list of Victorian writers and texts? Too easy, You want information on what the scientific field was like back then? They got that too. Honestly, they have so much useful information pulling from all facets of the Victorian era that it would take at least a couple of weeks/months to read through. If it’s in the Victorian era, you’ll probably be able to find it on http://victorianweb.org/.

For the sites information content, I’m going to give it a 5 “dang that’s a lot of reading”‘s, out of 5. The sites just got so many different topics of interest that you’re guaranteed to find something of use that is verified by professionals.

Ease of use:
http://victorianweb.org/ is a pretty simple website, opening up with multiple clickable options categorized into different subjects, just click one of the blue boxes and you’re on your way to some of the Victorian goodness. Within each box, you’ll be taken to a page with more categories and clickable links regarding different topics to browse through, and at the bottom will even get a couple of boxes with related subjects within them to find similar information.I give Ease of use 5 “so easy my Grandma could use it” out of 5. Just like my rating sais, it’s so easy even my Grandma could use it…if she was still alive, Bless her dear heart.

I give Ease of use 5 “so easy my Grandma could use it” out of 5. Just like my rating sais, it’s so easy even my Grandma could use it…if she was still alive, Bless her dear heart.

Ok, this is where the site is let down. The site has an extremely dated feel to it which honestly could put a lot of people off, I know it put me off at first. But if you can see past this your going to be swimming in the amount of information available on the site. They definitely need to update the looks of the site, make it look a bit more modern, and this may just be me but they need to make the font on the sides bigger! For people like me who are blind like a bat, it was really hard to be able to read some of the information without either squinting half an inch away from the monitor or using the zoom function and bringing it up to at least 150%.

I give Aesthetics 1 “Damn, you looking fine”‘s out of 5.

Overall http://victorianweb.org/ is a great site for learning about the Victorian era and all its nuances. It covers a large range of topics, in depth and is verified by professionals. It’s easy to navigate which is always a must when it comes to websites. It may look like a site straight from the days of dial-up but the information on this site is what we’re truly here for.

Saying that I give this site  5 “Hey, that’s pretty good”‘s out of 5. Because like I’ve said. were here for the brains not the looks.

Also here’s a useful link to Charles Dickens because were studying him.


Peer review #2

This week I decided to review a great little piece by Annabelle, describing Sydney in the morning.


Hi Annabelle,

I thought I’d critique your blog piece this week as I enjoyed reading the short paragraph describing Sydney. I think your spot on in the description, especially the “…on foot almost as fast as the buses traveling by them, or how fast they would be traveling if they were not caught up in piles and piles of backed up vehicles.” Section. Back when I had to travel into Sydney near-daily I always use to think that I could probably get off the current bus I was on and just walk to the next bus stop to catch the bus in front of mine. I actually did one day but as a result, I was soaked head to toe and had quite a miserably cold bus ride home. I really like the variety in the descriptions of others you saw walk past, as I’m fairly certain I’ve seen all of those kinds of people on those daily trips. Not much I can say about grammar, spelling or wording I think you captured Sydney in the early morning quite well.



Blog Entry #3 – A letter to Her Majesty.

For this week I took the ‘Letter to the Queen’ idea and decided to write as if I was someone of high enough status to frequently be in contact with the Queen and her family.

To Her Majesty The Queen.

I wish to inform you of a piece of information I have acquired with my travels to and from Her Majesty’s Palace.
Last night in my travels I had stopped at this small delightfully cozy tavern, not a single drunkard inside, I had only just begun my meal when I overheard two young men, they must have been but twenty and four talking about Her Majesty’s train carriage. They were discussing between each other that the royal carriage does not help the United Kingdom one bit. Now I do not wish to repeat the vulgar words that these young ruffians were using to address Her Majesty, but they said the icing on the cake was your royal carriage. That the carriage should be robbed and burnt to the ground for ever thinking such a display of wealth and snobbery would help the common folk. Oh, My Majesty the foul things these young ruffians were spouting out would have their mothers reeling in disgust. Why I have never been in such a mood. One of the young men, a short fellow with a scraggly beard even went as far to make a comparison to Her Majesty and a barnyard animal. Claiming that Her Majesty is less in touch with the common folk than a loon in a nuthouse.
I do urge Her Majesty to be careful whilst traveling in your lovely carriage as I do worry that such horrible words and thought could spread between the unhappy factory workers.
Please do take care.

Warmest Regards.

Mr. Adam Jones.