Late last year, I had the chance to pen and submit an analysis paper on Thief: The Dark Project for the Game Narrative Review Competition as part of the 2017 iteration of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Narrative Summit.


For the uninitiated, the contest revolves around participating students from colleges across the world who are tasked with conducting a detailed structured analysis of the story elements of a video game of their choice. The resulting papers are submitted to the GDC Game Narrative Summit advisors for review, and the entrants with the most promising submissions are then invited to present poster sessions of their work to their future professional peers at the Game Narrative Summit. All winning papers/posters are then archived to the GDC Vault for your viewing pleasure and convenience.

This year, I’ve had the immense honor to have been named a Gold Winner for my work on Thief: The Dark Project, and I shall be presenting my analysis in the form of a poster at GDC 2017, which will run from February 27 to March 3.


Thief stood out to me as an excellent example of a title that makes clever use of level design and mechanics to convey its intended atmospheric effect and emotional involvement pertaining to the player’s vulnerability and the inauspicious backstory of the setting in which the game takes place. It was those qualities, in fact, that compelled me to choose this title as the basis for my paper and explore some of its subtle but potent narrative techniques.

Feel free to peruse my narrative review of the game as well as its accompanying poster detailing and visualizing the work I did for the competition. Let me know what you think of it!