Zeynep Akcay

Animation, Ludonarrative Dissonance and
Narrative Immersion:

A Case Study of Anytown: Garage Sale Monsters

PRESENTATION: Sunday 27.5., 13:10 @ MuseumsQuartier – Raum D/quartier21

Anytown: Garage Sale Monsters is an independent game that is being developed by Zeynep Akçay and Orçun Nişli, an animator & game developer couple. It is a role playing game that offers a dual play mode; integrating collectible card battle game with story-rich adventure. The player is free to choose between two modes of play or combine them at her pleasure, but the game subverts the narrative expectations of both genres while conforming to their ludologic conventions. More specifically, although the main game loop is based on winning at battles and achieving in daily challenges, the narrative of the game evolves in defeated situations which foster an authorial reflection about growing up. In this sense, creating a strong narrative immersion while keeping an entertaining gaming experience is the crucial factor in achieving the desired poetic effect of the game.

This lecture elaborates on the structural “spill” of storytelling in game design and vice-versa, focusing on the role of animated storytelling in resolving potential cases of ludonarrative dissonance to reinforce the narrative immersion in Anytown: Garage Sale Monsters. “Ludonarrative dissonance” is a recently coined term in game design field to address the conflictual situations in which the gameplay can contradict with the main story, moral, or the desired mood of the game. Although in some cases, it can be consciously employed as a tool for alienation, it is best to be avoided to protect immersion on many levels. Therefore, by demonstrating specific cases where animated storytelling has affected not only the narrative, but also the ludologic design choices of Anytown: Garage Sale Monsters, this case study aims to elaborate on the possibilities of creating better narrative immersion in games while expanding on the exchanges between the authorial practices of animated storytelling and game design.


Zeynep Akçay is an international animated filmmaker & scholar focusing on the narrative strategies in animation and interactive narratives. She is currently living in Brno, Czechia; and developing Anytown: Garage Sale Monsters with her partner Orçun Nişli.
After completing a BA degree in Istanbul Turkey, determined to be an animation artist, she moved to Montreal, Canada. Her studies continued concurrently with professional experience in animation and post-production companies. She moved back to Turkey to work as a lecturer in İzmir while completing her practice-based PhD, for which she made an interactive animated film for preschool children. She presented at international conferences and served as jury member in festivals; namely, 28th and 29th SAS Conferences, Animafest Scanner IV, 9th AnimaSyros International Animation Festival, and 4th Contact International Student Film Festival. In 2017, she was invited as a filmmaker to “Le Voix des Femmes Festival” in Liege, Belgium.