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About the GDC's Game Narrative Review program: Every year, leading game design programs at universities across the country integrate the GDC's Game Narrative Review competition into their academic curricula. Each participating student conducts a detailed structured analysis of the narrative elements of a game title of their choice. The resulting papers are submitted to the GDC writing board for review, and the submitters with the most promising entries are then invited to create a poster as a visual synopsis of their review. Successful poster submissions are declared winners and exhibited at the GDC.

Winning entries are archived on this page, organized by year. Click the "Poster" links to see the winning poster submissions and the "Paper" links to read the winning written analyses.


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DigiPen Institute of TechnologyIzzy Abdus-SaburDarkest Dungeon
Harrison BartonThe Stanley Parable
Alexandra LucasHeavy Rain

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Art Center College of DesignTucker S. ElliottBioshock Infinite

Dakota State UniversityMostafa HaqueThe Witcher 3
Chris LeonhardtPokemon Black/White
Kristian SkistadUndertale

DigiPen Institute of TechnologyChris BeagleDestiny
Christopher RosarioUndertale
Kiera SchroederPatapon
Michael Van ZantBulletstorm

Sheridan CollegeMichael ArcadiAether

Southern Methodist UniversityLauryn GordonJourney

University of Southern CaliforniaBrendan LoBuglioLittle Party

Worcester Polytechnic InstituteKlew WilliamsSkyrim: Dragonborn


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Dakota State UniversityTrent SteenMetal Gear

Digipen Institute of TechnologyAlexandra LucasDragon Age: Origins

Southern Methodist UniversityJorge MontolioBraid

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

American UniversityKimberly HimmerCall of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land
Cole Wrampelmeier Spec Ops: The Line

Dakota State UniversityMostafa HaqueShadow of Mordor
Sean DailyMGS4

Digipen Institute of TechnologyChase RaymentBastion
Jonathan Butt & Hsi-Hung ShihWalking Dead Season 2

Drexel UniversityTom TraheyMetro: Last Light
Evan FreedChild of Light

George Mason UniversityVikingur OskarssonHotline Miami

Sheridan CollegeNuha AlkadiBeyond: Two Souls

The SMU GuildhallBrian PerryPsychonauts
Alex ShiltsGone Home
Katie WoodPaper Mario

University of Southern CaliforniaBenjamin SkaggsPapers, Please

Worcester Polytechnic InstituteYingying ChenThe Last of Us


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

CMUJohn BaxaDarkstalkers 3: Vampire Savior

Dakota State UniversityMostafa HaqueSoul Reaver 2

NYUPierre DepazXCOM: Enemy Unknown

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Becker CollegeScott TongueBeyond: Two Souls

Dakota State UniversitySean DailyThe Stanley Parable
Andrew KoernerThe World Ends with You
Zachary TruesdellDragon Age: Origins
Mariah BeemDragon Age: Origins

DigiPenBrenda ChallenderLeague of Legends
Nicole MaioranoOne and One Story
John DouseauLeague of Legends

NYULarry ShenShin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Shoshana KessockTomb Raider
Benjamin SpaldingCivilization V

RITJohn BowmanMonaco: What's Yours Is Mine
Ian SwitajShin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

Southern Methodist UniversityCurtis RochelleDishonored
Jaclyn HuchelDreamfall: The Longest Journey
Xavier StrongBully
Jordan RollerLegend of Dragoon
Drew HammelPsychonauts


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DrexelGlenn WintersJourney

MarymountWalter BottlickAlice madness Returns

Rochester Institute of TechnologyDouglas LynnMetroid Prime

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

CMUChristian CashmanFallout: New Vegas

DigipenGeorge BodenEarthBound
Spencer CrowellMass Effect 3
Johnathan GrogoireLegend of Zelda: Majoras Mask
Andy HillBioshock
Sin Yee HoweDipict 1
Aaron McDanielMass Effect 3
Cheng Ding XiangThreads of Fate ( US title ), Dewprism (Japan title)

DrexelKenneth ChenThe Binding of Isaac
Dustin OtwellLittle Inferno

EmersonPhilip BinderThe Cave

PUC-RioArthur ProtasioWay of Samurai 3

RITAaron RussellBarkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa
Evan MillerFinal Fantacy XIII

Southern Methodist UniversityJose Abalos LiraDys4ia


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Digipen Khalil MoutrieEversion

Southern Methodist UniversitySteven ChinPortal 2

University of TexasMichael GabaldonGhost Trick: Phantom Detective

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DigipenSamuel DasslerDragon Quest V
Ryan CassellPenumbra: Black Plague

Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyDavid BocekHalf-Life 2

Southern Methodist UniversityDustin DavisThief: The Dark Project
Campbell CrapseyShogun 2
Chris ParthemosDark Cloud
Charles EgenbacherShadow of the Colossus

SUNY StonybrookMax XimenezDeus Ex: Human Revolution

University of Southern CaliforniaJames IliffHalf-Life


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Northern Kentucky UniversityPatric DelaneyGrim Fandango

Southern Methodist UniversityDavid SavageRed Dead Redemption

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DigipenDavid KanigelSilent Hill 2: Restless Dreams
Brian FrantzWorld of Goo
Christopher KrawczukFinal Fantasy X

Southern Methodist UniversityDimitrius PennebakerSilent Hill 2
Gideon SheebMass Effect
Jaddua RossDisgaea 3: Absence of Justice
Jeffrey BickelAssassin's Creed
John GoyetteShadowbane
Joshua KastenAmnesia: The Dark Descent
Mitch CrossleyBaldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Philip RileyBaldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Stephen ChinHomefront
Todd NellingKnights of the Old Republic


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DePaulDavid HenryThe Dark Eye

DigipenBenjamin VandergriftGuild War: Prophecies

Southern Methodist UniversityAndy KimDwarf Fortress

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Carnegie MellonBenjamin MillerHeavy Rain

DePaulJohn MurphyThe Path

DigipenZach BarthHalf-Life 2
Ryan DurlandSecret of Monkey Island
Patrick HayesShin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Zabir HogueHalo ODST
Sean HunterSuper Metroid
Kwan PerngPortal
Michael LobatoUncharted 2
Even McCrainOkami
Andrew McWilliamsKillzone 2
Jay ParsellXenosaga 1
Samer RayyanPersona 3
Nicholas RotondoShadow of the Colossus
Christopher TallmanThe Neverhood

Rochester Institute of TechnologyHallWorld of Goo
Amy LiPhoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Alex LifschitzFar Cry 2
Nathan PalsonEternal Darkness
David SilvermanCave Story

Southern Methodist UniversityChuck BartholomewSuper Paper Mario
Stephen ChinMass Effect
Chase GordonEarthbound
Taylor KerrGolden Sun
Patrick MoatesDragon Age: Origins
Vicki SmithTales of Monkey Island
Kevin WeiOddworld: Abe's Oddysee


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DigipenPatrick MartinPrey
Derrick ReadingerBraid

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DigipenJustin BillerLegend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Caleb FisherFinal Fantasy X
Steven HammondResident Evil 4
Ben JohnsonMetal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Adam MiddletonShadow of the Colossus
Jeff RobinsonDreamfall: The Longest Journey
Doug WilliamsBioshock

Rochester Institute of TechnologyAlex LifschitzDead Space

Southern Methodist UniversityMichael BrannanChrono Trigger
Tyler BuserHalf-Life


Overall Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

DigipenErik OsabenSilent Hill 2

UBM Tech