The Stanley Parable Map

During my research, I have had to apply a modified theory of Propp’s Morphology to The Stanley Parable from a narrative aspect. In my project, I had used the analysis framework of Brusentsev [2] and the modified function set from Bostan [1]. You can read my analysis of Propp’s Functions relative to video games here.

After scouring the internet of wikis and forums, and playing the game countless times through, I have generated a graph of all pathways to major endings of The Stanley Parable which can be found below. Note that this contains only pathways that I considered to have full endings. So, for instance, the infinite elevator sequence is not included, as the game does not terminate following that path. Additionally, if you are not a researcher, or if you’re not familiar with this game, then this graph may not make much sense. If you are interested in my mapping of all endings and meaningful easter eggs, then please see my notes from my analysis.

Narrative mapping of The Stanley Parable using a modified suite of Propp’s Functions.


The green circle at the top labelled “Start” is the beginning of the game where Stanley is in his office and the door opens for the first time. After that, traverse along any given pathway to reach any ending.

The diamond shapes represent choices. If your pathway has a diamond, then the player is given two or more choices. The triangles represent each choice. Blue circles are vague but important player actions (such as having to climb out of the window on the Out of Map ending). Purple circles are the (extended) Proppian Functions along with their ID. If you are not familiar with Propp’s Morphology, these will not make much sense and can be ignored. The ‘vanilla path’ of the game is dotted.


[1] Bostan, B., & Turan, O. (2017). Deconstructing game stories with propp’s morphology. System17, 18.
[2] Brusentsev, A., Hitchens, M., & Richards, D. (2012, July). An investigation of Vladimir Propp’s 31 functions and 8 broad character types and how they apply to the analysis of video games. In Proceedings of The 8th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment: Playing the System (p. 2). ACM.

Propp’s Functions for Video Games

In the book Morphology of the Folktale[1], Vladimir Propp outlines a set of commonly-occurring features of novels that he had analyzed, which he named functions.  These functions were all assigned a unique character.  These characters can be strung together to represent the overall narrative structure. Propp’s functions have been extended for modern narrative such as in video games and interactive fiction.  Below is a simplified listing of every propp function, including those in recently expanded revisions[2] targeting games, along with an example relating to video games.

A number of these functions can be combined together within their own boundaries. Villainy, for instance, can meet multiple criteria, either in succession or in parallel. This applies to a number of other functions, too.

This article may contain spoilers for the following games:

Assassin’s Creed (Altair/Ezio series)
Borderlands 2
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Gears of War 3
Half-Life 2
Halo Reach
Mass Effect (1, 2, 3)
Portal (1, 2)
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Patterns of Hypertext

This is a listing of Mark Bernstein’s patterns from his paper Patterns of Hypertext[1].  While they apply mostly to web and novels, the concepts apply to all hypertext. The person interacting with the hypertext is referred to as the reader, user, or player.

There has been calls to structure hypertext for clarity, but it is clear that this is not possible, and that it in fact has not largely affected users. Since complexity isn’t going away, creating appropriate vocabulary to describe such structures is important. Nodes within hypertext can be part of multiple overlapping patterns. It is not to say that these patterns are to be used by all writers, but instead that considering these patterns could improve the understanding and quality of works of hypertext.
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