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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

SheridanRui JiangLittle Nightmares II
Sile KeenanPsychonauts 2
Iris WeiWe Know The Devil

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Carnegie Mellon UniversityXiaoying MengSpiritfarer

DeltaruneGabe St OngeSheridan

DigiPenMayzie WilkinsonNew Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Loh Chang ZhenHollow Knight
Joseph KnezekKenshi
Keion RodriguezSpider-Man: Miles Morales
Sami NajedThe Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

DigiPen SingaporeAbigail SngFatal Twelve

QuinnipiacTyler GormanLittle Nightmares

SheridanEthan MicallefOuter Wilds: Echoes of the Eye
Asad AliTell Me Why

Southern Methodist UniversityWilliam Ernest SantosPersona 5: Royal

University of Silicon ValleyIvy Angelina CasserlyUnderTale

University of Southern CaliforniaLevi PinkertThe Last of Us Part II

University of TexasNatalie LeeWe Know The Devil
Matthew ZhangChicory: A Colorful Tale


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Indiana UniversityMayla QiLeague of Legends

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Chloe EsperanceThe Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Southern Methodist UniversityArthur DavisA Dark Room

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Indiana UniversityEthan PrangerLife Is Strange
Jacob BaileyDoki Doki Literature Club
Mitchell BlackHyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Rensselaer Polytechnic InstitutePatrick ButlerFirewatch
Max NigogosyanWhat Remains of Edith FInch
Misha PodzniakivChrono Trigger
Michael ZahaviPortal 2

SheridanEmily BaikTo The Moon

Sheridan CollegeLawrence LeOuter Wilds
Scott ParkerHades

Southern Methodist UniversitySierra ClarkWhite Door
Isaiah HastingsFate/Extra CCC
Chevis McMilan-BrockwayNight In The Woods

Southern Methodist University Daniel WillbornBloodborne

University of Southern California Marika PerlmutterTacoma
Adam MorinaThe Last of Us

University of TexasAndrew WoodwardOuter Wilds
Ana DragomirSouth of the Circle


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

New York UniversityEmma StoneGRIS

SheridanJessica ZhangInterrogation: You Will Be Deceived
Lawrence LeIco

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Carnegie Mellon UniversityChance LytleChibi-Robo!

DigipenLaurel PrattPsychonauts
Kai McDonaldHalo: Reach

DrexelJulie ArcalaIb
Isabella Haro-UchimuraMass Effect 3

New York UniversityJulia Del MattoYume Nikki

Ohio University Kellye BlosserUncharted 4

QuinnipiacAntonia GatesLisa: The First

Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteEmily OrtegaGone Home
Tyler KahnThe Stanley Parable

SheridanBenjamin Mora DavisonThe Banner Saga
Gabriel St OngeHollow Knight
Mary Andrea ArrozUntitled Goose Game
Xinran MaAffairs of the Court - Choice of Romance

TexasHaley BarngroverDeltarune
Jack OverbeckJedi: The Fallen Oder

UC Santa CruzMax CronceFuri
Merita LundstromMurder Dog IV: The Trial of Murder Dog

University of Central Florida Jonathan BaldessariThe Beginner's Guide

UtahAdam WeinsteinPapers, Please

Worcester Polytechnic InstituteDylan ValevMinit
Kate OlguinWhere the Water Tastes Like Wine


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Northeastern UniversityErica KleinmanOneShot

Sheridan CollegeColton DavidThe Missing: JJ MacField and the Isle of Memories
Jessica ZhangPersona 5

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Cogswell Polytechnical CollegeSydney FonderieDestiny 2

Digipen Institute of TechnologyStav HinenzonPyre

Drexel UniversityJulie ArcalaYume Nikki (Dream Diary)
Mark HurleyDoom
Tejas ShahCeleste
Erin TruesdellEvent[0]

George Mason UniversityJonathan MoallemAviary Attorney

New York UniversityNicholas CarbonaraMarvel's Spider-Man
Rachel MoellerDishonored 2

Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteYaoyu ChengMonster Hunter: World
Chris DicovskiyThe Stanley Parable
William LyonsDuet
Giovanni MoralesRed Dead Redemption 2

Sheridan CollegeNamnam GoodarziDevil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening

Southern Methodist UniversityAspen ClarkThe Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Longfei GaoOctopath Traveler

University of Nevada - Las VegasAlbert A. AnteroBrothers: A Tale of Two Sons

University of Southern CaliforniaShuyan LiA Gay's Life
Aimee ZhangFirewatch
Ryan ZuberyFlorence

University of Texas - AustinJoe LunghiShin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

Worcester Polytechnic InstituteKate OlguinWhat Remains of Edith Finch


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Digipen Institute of TechnologyAndrea RieckNier: Automata

NYUMostafa HaqueZelda: Breath of the Wild

Southern Methodist UniversityLarry ShenOverwatch

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Carnegie Mellon UniversityNaomi BurgessRiven

Cogswell Polytechnical CollegeIsaac MadsenTomb Raider

Dakota State UniversityJulian BuettgenbackDoki Doki Literature Club!

Digipen Institute of TechnologyJesse LozanoZero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma
Kaila HarrisGunpoint

Northeastern UniversityErica KleinmanNier: Automata
Anurag SarkarThe Shivah

NYUAaron LuEvent[0]
Morgan MacriThe Last of Us

Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteJessica LichterThe Last of Us
James LaksFirewatch
Cole CarpenterPersona 4 Golden
Rose LatorreEverybody's Gone to the Rapture

Sheridan CollegeYin Ting HeFinal Fantasy XV

Southern Methodist UniversitySantiago MorenoZelda: Breath of the Wild
Lauren BreedingNihilumbra
Justin LoarThat Dragon, Cancer

University of Southern CaliforniaLex RhodesDiary of a Spaceport Janitor
Kelsey RiceThe Sexy Brutale
Audrey ChengFire Emblem: Blazing Sword

University of Texas - AustinEmily NaulHotel Dusk: Room 215

Worcester Polytechnic InstituteThomas TawadrosOri and the Blind Forest


Platinum Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Carnegie MellonNikhil KashyapThe Walking Dead

Digipen Institute of TechnologyJohn C. MyresInside

Sheridan CollegeKeltie WrightOxenfree

Gold Winners

School Student Game Title Poster Paper

Dakota State UniversityTrent SteenZero Time
Kristian SkistadBrothers
Nathan GolenKessen II

Digipen Institute of TechnologyShiloh RobertsPersona 4 Golden
Stav HinenzonSunless Sea
Samson JinksLife is Strange
Kaleb NekumaneshLife is Strange
Andrea RieckSuper Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

George Mason UniversityVikingur OskarssonWolfenstein: The New Order

NYUMostafa HaqueDark Souls 3
Desiree CifreLife is Strange
Christina LuUntil Dawn
Leah TalbotAlien: Isolation

Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteMaria SalmonI Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
Fanghong DongTomb Raider
Janice HoTransistor

Sheridan CollegeNuha AlkadiHer Story

UC Santa CruzCalvin WalantusDark Souls

University of Southern CaliforniaRyan BobellEmily is Away
Jung-ho SohnHotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Worcester Polytechnic InstituteMichel SabbaghThief: The Dark Project
Yakin NajahiSoma


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 DusseauLeague 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