Hysteria: An experiment in historic interactive game narrative

Lisa Hermsen and Elizabeth Goins


This paper examines the integration of historic and fictional narratives through the transmediation of "The Yellow Wall-Paper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman into an interactive narrative. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper" was first published in January 1892 in The New England Magazine. But this short story is itself a story within several other stories that can be told about Charlotte's activity in the woman's movement of the late nineteenth century and about her treatment by the popular Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, known well in the history of psychiatry. The project develops a mod of "The Yellow Wall-Paper," titled Hysteria, with Skyrim's Creation Kit as a means to experiment with the incorporation of cultural heritage and historic narrative into a role playing game. Game narrative is developed through character dialogue based on historical narrative, the incorporation of 19th century medical texts, and quest-based game play.