A Narrative Dream… The Unfinished Swan
Some of you faithful readers may know that my main occupation is a high school English teacher. I went to college for English, Creative Writing, and Film Studies, so I have a background that nurtured my naturally analytical brain. I can’t read a book without a pencil in hand, and I’ve even watched movies with pen and paper blazing. It is with this background that I tend to approach video games. One game I have been meaning to write about since I first played it years ago is The Unfinished Swan by Giant Sparrow. With its relatively recent rerelease, I had the chance to play and watch it through a couple of more times, taking notes as the game progressed before my eyes. You might have heard me riff on Journey, usually using The Unfinished Swan as evidence of a video game that does a better job weaving a compelling narrative. From chapter to chapter, TUS takes the player’s hand and guides him/her through consistently unfamiliar territory. Themes, allusions, and symbols are plentiful throughout, emphasizing the natural wonderment felt by the player and bolstering the experience with rich content. I’ve chosen to break up my writings into chapters to parallel the game’s structure/narrative. Some chapters may go off on wild tangents. You have been warned. Speaking of warnings, major plot beats will be discussed openly. The Unfinished Swan is a game that partially hinges on the player feeling lost and discovering her way. The game’s narrative is less effective when the player knows where to go, what to do, etc.
Read, comment, enjoy! If you disagree with me or would like to expand upon a point, please do! Discussion breeds new ideas; share your perspective if you’ve played the game!