infovore + games + narrative   83

In The Shadow of the Holodeck – Charles J Pratt – Medium
This is really good. I had some beginning-threads of thought at the time of the Bogost article that I just couldn't frame, and in the meantime, CJP has run with similar threads, a good dose of history, and come to some sharp conclusions, and basically reminded me what I actually think. So I'm just going to point at this to say "yes, I think this, and this is better expressed than I could ever have put it". Strong stuff.
games  narrative  charlesjpratt  ianbogost  writing  story  plot  interaction  design 
may 2017 by infovore
Creative Restriction and The New Realism - Front Page - Magical Wasteland
"This is not to say that real human interactions are not ritualized to the point of mechanic in some ways, but that procedural rhetoric about human life nearly always makes a specific argument: life works this way, life works that way. Counter to this, Gone Home eschews systems; in particular, it avoids systemizing anything about its characters. Instead of portraying the characters themselves, or providing a set of interactions with those characters, it presents instead a series of artifacts from the characters’ lives without trying to build mechanics around them. The family is only present through those artifacts, the shapes and shadows each member leaves behind. In a certain sense, you could say that the game sets its sights low. But it also hits its mark extremely well– and by doing so achieves something greater than a reductive mechanical take on those same characters ever could. Gone Home is not intended from the top down to be “a game about life”, as some ham-handed experiments have been– instead, it simply represents or evokes certain lives very well (and therefore naturally becomes about life). The game allows its characters to exist on a plane that we usually reserve for ourselves." This is a fine paragraph from a very astute take on Gone Home; for someone who talks so much about games as systemic media, it's good to be reminded so eloquently of all their other qualities I'm prone to forgetting.
gonehome  games  criticism  realism  narrative 
august 2013 by infovore
Culture Desk: The Video Game Art of Fumito Ueda : The New Yorker
"...the world of Shadow of the Colossus is seemingly empty, except for the colossi and the warrior. Until you reach a colossus, there is no music, leaving you alone with your thoughts and the sound of your horse’s hooves. No enemies jump out to attack, it occurred to me on one of these rides, because I am the one on the hunt. The natural order of a video game is reversed. There are no enemies because I am the enemy." A decent enough piece on Ueda's games for the New Yorker - but this paragraph is marvellous.
games  fumitoueda  art  interaction  narrative 
november 2011 by infovore
Plot has consequences — Sophie Sampson
"Robert Downey Jr really sells the idea of being a design engineer. To be fair, the Iron Man script does him the great service of having him have to build himself a new heart in a cave in Afghanistan, thus having to make imperfect things and fettle them to fit. That feeling gets slightly lost later in his super-engineer pad where apparently nothing needs filing when it comes back from the rapid prototyping machine. But he still manages to exude a kind of mad joy at making things, a fundamental character trait in the way that having nice breasts is not." Sophie on the emotional truths of storytelling.
games  writing  plot  narrative  storytelling  sophiesamson  truth  masseffect2 
march 2011 by infovore
Curveship: Interactive Fiction + Interactive Narrating
"Curveship is an interactive fiction system that provides a world model (of characters, objects, locations, and things that happen) while also modeling the narrative discourse, so that the narration and description of the simulated world can change. Curveship can tell events out of order, using flashback and other techniques, and can tell the story from the standpoint of particular characters and their perceptions and understandings." This looks both bonkers and brilliant.
if  interactivefiction  narrative  stories  python  games  writing 
february 2011 by infovore
The Systematic Integrity of Expression
"The nature of an interactive medium should be the feedback loop between the player and the game; to not explore (or, at least, consider) the expression space of this cycle seems to be a missed opportunity." Trent raises some good points about the relationship between narratives and the systems that tell them.
games  systems  narrative  mechanics 
january 2011 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Impotent narrative
"One succeeds because it leverages the player's motivated, explorative, self-driven experience; the other fails because it relies on a hackneyed, disjointed "epic" plotting (told in 3 separate plot-lines via cutscenes) with incongruous settings and 2-dimensional characters. One succeeds because its formal systems directly feed the player's connection to the world and characters; the other fails because its formal systems bear no discernible relationship to the stories the game wants to tell." This is strong stuff from Michael; I am increasingly fed up of the focus on (poorly-told) stories in games.
games  narrative  emergence  story  michaelabbott  rpg 
october 2010 by infovore
Living Epic: Video Games in the Ancient World: Halo: Reach as practomime
"Reach, on the other hand, without its player, is an epic waiting to happen, a set of ludics waiting to be given enactment. More than any other comparison I could make, I think this one points out the value of thinking about games like Reach in the light of epics like the Iliad: these two kinds of practomime share the enormously important characteristic of living through re-performance, of gaining their meaning through iteration according to the rules laid down by the practomime." This is good: game as structure, the core loop as enacted by the player being what brings it to life, structures it according to its audience.
epic  halo  games  performance  narrative 
september 2010 by infovore
Discount thoughts: The "real" John Marston
"Red Dead Redemption is fully aware that our view of the Old West is more social construction than historical knowledge. I happen to think its main character is also intended to be a construct, a man who is a fiction in the world of the game. That is, the John Marston we play is the man as imagined by his son, Jack." That's an interesting take, although this article feels a little crit-heavy to me; I'm not convinced that the writing is as sophisticated as this criticism makes out.
reddeadredemption  games  narrative  myth 
june 2010 by infovore
D Nye Everything: The two and a half deaths of Miranda Lawson
"I got my Miranda. I also found out how many times I'll kill the same person in order to get my way, which is also helpful." Great stuff from Dan on Mass Effect 2, and the hoops we go through to make NPCs like us.
games  masseffect2  choice  narrative  dangriffiths 
march 2010 by infovore
Commander A. Shepard « falling awkwardly
"Over at The Border House, they’re having a bit of a backlash against the constant presence of Stubbly White Male Shepard in the marketing for the Mass Effect series.  (Seriously, who is that guy anyway?) Border House writers are posting details of their Shepards, and I was asked if I’d post mine. So, here is something that might give some idea." I'm rather enjoying this series, although this entry in it is probably my favourite.
roleplaying  games  masseffect  character  whitemaleprivilege  narrative 
january 2010 by infovore » Blog Archive » Designing story-based games
"Eons ago, in 1996, Next Generation magazine asked me for a list of game design tips for narrative games. Here’s what I gave them. Reading it today, some of it feels dated (like the way I refer to the player throughout as “he”), but a lot is as relevant as ever. I especially like #8 and #9." Jordan Mechner is a smart chap; nice to know he was on the right lines so long ago.
games  story  design  narrative  play  jordanmechner 
november 2009 by infovore
GameSetWatch - Column: 'Homer In Silicon': The Romance Problem
"What's needed, from a gameplay perspective, is a romantic partner who is sometimes also functionally the villain. There's a reason people write buckets of fanfic about the secret love of Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter: passionately clashing with someone is a form of intimacy. It raises the emotional stakes between those two characters _far_ more reliably than attempts to portray attraction in interactive form." Emily Short on fine, fine form, about the difficulties of writing romance into games. An excellent piece of writing on game design.
games  design  romance  narrative  conflict  plot 
september 2009 by infovore
The Story in Left 4 Dead - Steam Users' Forums
One great big massive thread in which the Left 4 Dead story gets dissected to death - with lots of excellent screengrabs - by perceptive fans. Good stuff: as usual with Valve, there's so much story in the world.
valve  left4dead  l4d  games  story  narrative  environment 
august 2009 by infovore
Gamasutra - News - Develop 2009: Gameplay Not Everything, Says Dyack
"Dyack’s controversial message was delivered during a talk at Brighton, UK's Develop Conference calling for games to be considered as "the Eighth Art." He highlighted the writings of Ricciotto Canudo, an Italian author and one of the first theorists of film who considered cinema to be the Seventh Art." More to come on this - because I was there and disagreed a lot. That said, Dyack was interesting - I just don't think he's correct. This is mainly because he's adapting the writings of someone writing film theory for people new to film, as opposed to the film theory that happens when the audience understand it.
carudo  dennisdyack  develop09  games  story  art  narrative  design 
july 2009 by infovore
Click Nothing: Live and Let Die
"Ultimately, when I reject narrative techniques in favor of ludic ones, what I am really saying is that I reject traditional authorship. I reject the notion that what I think you will find emotionally engaging and compelling - and then build and deliver to you to consume - is innately superior to what you think is emotionally compelling. By extension, I reject the idea that I can make you feel the loss of a friend in a more compelling way by authoring an irreversible system than you could make yourself feel by playing with a system wherein a friend can be both dead and alive simultaneously and wherein his very existence can be in flux based on your playful whim... This discussion is not about how to make a game more meaningful. It is about how games mean." Yep, I still want to marry Clint Hocking.
games  narrative  choice  farcry2  clinthocking  media  stories 
july 2009 by infovore
Traffic Department 2192 | Narrative Flood
"[Our heroine's] name is Marta Louise Velasquez, and she’s quite possibly the most unpleasant female lead character in the history of gaming. She’s also what makes TD2192 worth remembering." Indeed, I have many. She did not lead a happy life, I'll give Richard that.
td2192  games  narrative  story  plot  shareware 
june 2009 by infovore
Rock, Paper, Shotgun: The Force is The Method » Fuel: Around The World In Eight Hours
"I was, instead, going to see what it would take to drive around the world in a single sitting. It would have to be a single sitting because, without unlocking the game, I could not easily return to where I had driven to, or save my location. I was going to drive without the safety-net of a saved game, or even a checkpoint." Jim takes a tour of a properly big open-world; Fuel's not a game I'm very interested in for its mechanics, but the world always seemed interesting, and it's nice to have that confirmed.
games  fuel  openworld  narrative  jimrossignol  writing  exploration 
june 2009 by infovore
THE GRIND: SOCAL EDITION (SF4 TRAINING & SBO QUALS) - iPLAYWINNER FIGHTING GAME NEWS - Street Fighter Virtua Fighter Tekken SNK Capcom BlazBlue Fighting Game News Strategy and Guides at
Huge, and a bit baggy, but nontheless interesting account of a trip to the SBO Qualifiers in the US; if anything, makes me sad that there's no way we'll ever see an arcade scene like this in the UK ever again.
arcade  games  streetfighter  play  competition  sbo  narrative  society 
june 2009 by infovore
Narrative Flood - Because Story Matters
"Being a light-hearted look at the world of story and writing in games." Written by Richard Cobbett, it's quite a lot of fun. And he's played Realms of the Haunting, too. Awesome.
games  narrative  story  blog 
june 2009 by infovore
"The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you're alone in the forest, it's hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible..." An interesting take on conversational IF, even if some of the most interesting endings - and best writing - his relatively cryptic to access...
games  if  interactivefiction  textadventure  writing  narrative 
june 2009 by infovore
Gamasutra - Features - Beyond Pacing: Games Aren't Hollywood
"Another word for "pacing" is "storytelling". We never really tell stories to players; we just put them in games. Then players tell our stories to themselves." Interesting analysis of pacing in games, and what the demands games make on pace are. And, of course, that quotation.
games  narrative  pace  storytelling  analysis 
may 2009 by infovore
Touched By The Hand Of Mod: Dear Esther | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"This is a mod. And that’s kind of relevant, for two reasons. Firstly, we don’t want to pay for this kind of thing. Hell, look at The Path: people are upset that even exists, let alone that its developers had the guts to charge seven quid for their remarkable efforts. But this is the sort of thing I’d love to pay for. It seems illogical that we’ll all happily splash out fifty pounds for the same old story of science-fiction revenge, yet aggressively avoid anything that encourages us to engage our brains and challenge ourselves a little."
games  storytelling  story  narrative  depth  interaction  ungames 
may 2009 by infovore
Ludus Novus » Blog Archive » Left 4 Godot
"...there’s no real hope for the Survivors. Each trip through a campaign is different, but it begins with them knee-deep in the undead, and ends with them escaping to an uncertain future. We never see the Survivors truly safe. Between chapters, they rest in Safe Rooms, but they can’t hide there forever. Most unsettlingly, there are signs that the Survivors themselves remember doing all this before." Francis, incidentally, hates Beckett.
left4dead  beckett  narrative  repetition  games  story 
may 2009 by infovore
Ending BioShock, by Tom Francis
Tom Francis posits an alternate ending to Bioshock, that makes sense of the Vita-Chambers switcheroo, gives the player the agency they've craved, fixes some of the issues with the original ending, and asks you kindly to DROP THE GODDAMN RADIO.
bioshock  games  narrative  play  storytelling  writing 
april 2009 by infovore
Cruise Elroy » Who needs to win?
"As I listened to Wil’s surprisingly impassioned speech, and the protestations of the other party members, a thought popped into my head: role-playing is when you make poor gameplay decisions on purpose." Dan values narrative success over ludic, rules-based success.
games  play  gameplay  roleplaying  success  failure  drama  narrative 
april 2009 by infovore
GDC Takeaway: Tiny, Tiny Stories « Save the Robot - Chris Dahlen
"Many deep, sophisticated emotions can emerge from those three plots. But they should emerge in the experience, in the actions the players take, in the reactions they receive, in gestures and decisions and deaths and tasks and achieving or failing to achieve a goal. They should not emerge from people sitting around talking to each other in a cartoon." Chris Dahlen on post-GDC09 narrative.
games  narrative  story  chrisdhalen  writing  character  plot 
april 2009 by infovore
Quick and dirty slides
Margaret's slides from GDC2009. Even without the notes, there's clearly some great meat here, and "Stop Wasting My Time And Your Money" has some stonkingly good moments - notably, the discussion of the HL2 lambda, and a great, great Sam Beckett gag.
margaretrobertson  gdc2009  slides  presentation  games  story  narrative  play  spore  education 
march 2009 by infovore
Gamasutra - Features - Game Writing From The Inside Out
This is both good and bad in places; I'm not totally convinced by the "What would players rather shoot -- a wall, or a Nazi?" argument, but I'm very interested (as per my previous writing on Far Cry 2) in notions of non-player characters as protagonist; the player as lens through which story emerges, rather than hero of said story. Stuff to think on, for sure, but I'm still working out how to respond to this; I'm not sure it fulfils its goal of discussing "how writers and designers can collaborate smoothly and successfully"; it just shows me some examples.
design  games  writing  narrative  story  structure  protagonist 
march 2009 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: La Comedie Post-Humaine
"If you keep the city and concentrate on putting more world into it, imaginativeness becomes the primary obstacle-- you can add things into this city without having to add much physical space and new assets. There's legions of empty storefronts and empty buildings, waiting to be filled. And media-- web sites, radio stations, tv shows-- don't take up space either. Think of this cheap empty space as a place to tell new stories, because as a developer, you are good at this." Iroquois, hitting many nails on the head all at once, again.
games  narrative  stories  iroquoispliskin  dlc  gtaiv  gaas  balzac  universe 
march 2009 by infovore
Blue Lacuna: An Interactive Novel by Aaron A. Reed
This looks very, very interesting. Yes, it's IF, but it looks like it's pushing that genre quite far.
games  storytelling  narrative  story  interactivefiction  if 
february 2009 by infovore
GameSetWatch - Column: 'Homer In Silicon': Blue Lacuna
"There are no cut scenes, no uninteractive passages, no portions where the characters are essentially "switched off" and indifferent to what the player does. Everything counts. Everything is part of the story." Excellent Emily Short piece on Blue Lacuna
games  writing  storytelling  narrative  interactivefiction  if  bluelacuna 
february 2009 by infovore
Fullbright: Storymaking
" games are driven by the player, experientially and emotionally. Fictional content--setting, characters, backstory-- is useful inasmuch as it creates context for what the player chooses to do. This is ambient content, not linear narrative in any traditional sense. The creators of a gameworld should be lauded for their ability to believably render an intriguing fictional place-- the world itself and the characters in it. However the value in a game is not to be found in its ability at storytelling, but in its potential for storymaking." Some commentary on the scale of storymaking games offer, from Steve Gaynor. Also: I like the word "storymaking", as opposed to "storytelling".
games  narrative  story  mechanics  stevegaynor  plot  pace  storymaking 
february 2009 by infovore
GameSetWatch - Column: 'Diamond in the Rough' : Caring About The Prince
"This Prince of Persia is many things good and bad, but for me, it has been one of the more enthralling experiences provided by a video game. It eschews frustrating, punishing gameplay tropes, and instead follows a hugely unpopular and successful (at its aim) path: it aims to create a continuous, enjoyable, flowing experience, one unhindered by the mechanical, artificial traditions of “achievement” and “fun” that so many games cling to."
games  storytelling  narrative  difficulty  experience  flow  princeofpersia  gamesetwatch 
january 2009 by infovore
Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you. « Groping The Elephant
"For all the talk of immersion and realism it seems gamers still want games that provide for them, that make them the centre of the action, the pivotal agent in the events of the world, the nexus around which everything is focused." And this is one of the big conflicts within games: you have to make the player feel wanted whilst they're playing the game, make them feel the centre of attention, because without them the game is nothing. But at the same time: can you still tell stories that aren't about them? I expand a little in the comment on the blogpost proper.
games  play  narrative  choice  farcry2  attention  fallout3  focus  selfcentered 
january 2009 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: It's the Little Things
" feeling is that the barriers to verismilitude in video games aren't technological-- lighting effects, texture work, mocapping-- but /technical/. They're matters of technique, mastering the extant toolset in order to produce the novelistic details that make for the feeling of authentic transport. Game design doesn't need a better camera, or a holodeck. What it requires is old-fashioned artistry and imaginativeness, an obsessive and nerdish Flaubert who will come along and show us how games work."
games  storytelling  narrative  design  technique  iroquoispliskin 
december 2008 by infovore
Lookspring » Snapping point
"Tears shouldn’t be our goal. Stories don’t need to be our tools. The majority of art forms don’t rely on narrative for their emotional impact. Stop and think about that for a second. The games industry tends to draw on such an amazingly limited roster of inspirations that it’s easy to forget it. But our obsession with linear, story-based - word-based, even - non-participatory art at the expense of all the other forms makes life so much harder for games, and it makes me crazy."
games  art  narrative  story  emotion 
december 2008 by infovore
Steven Spielberg interview - Quarter To Three Forums
...and here's a tiny bit that got cut from the final interviewer, from Tom Chick's own site. Spielberg talks in more detail about balancing storytelling and gameplay, and expands a bit on the cutscene problem.
tomchick  stevenspielberg  interview  games  play  narrative  cutscenes  storytelling 
december 2008 by infovore
Steven Spielberg - Celebrity Byte - Yahoo! Games
Tom Chick interviews Spielberg on games for Yahoo!. Spielberg is consumate and smart, as you'd expect, but also well-grounded; he really does _play games_. "Yes, I've played Half-Life, of course" - the "of course" is the important bit.
games  stevenspielberg  interview  storytelling  narrative  play  boomblox 
december 2008 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Dissonance
"Does the road to ludonarrative unity really lead us where we want to go? Is the destination reachable? Is it possible to embrace a design aesthetic that takes us in another direction that could be just as fruitful, if not more so? Okay that was three questions, but it's my blog so I get to ask as many as I want. Now if I could only answer them." This is going to be interesting when I come to write about Far Cry 2.
games  narrative  story  michaelabbott  dissonance  design  mechanics  systems 
december 2008 by infovore
Gamasutra - The Last Express: Revisiting An Unsung Classic
Lovely, interesting article about The Last Express; some nice notes about the production process, the problem with setting games at the turn of the century, and juggling as bonding. Interesting how many lessons from the game still have relevance to modern gaming, and I love the "small space, mapped perfectly" ideal.
games  adventure  lastexpress  production  development  history  narrative 
november 2008 by infovore
Fullbright: The immersion model of meaning
"Our attempts to bridle the player's freedom of movement and force our meaning onto him are fruitless. Rather, it is a distinct transportative, transformative quality-- the ability of the player to build his own personal meaning through immersion in the interactive fields of potential we provide-- that is our unique strength, begging to be fully realized." Some great Steve Gaynor; reminds me of Mitch Resnick's "microworld construction kits" all over again.
stevegaynor  games  immersion  systems  mechanics  openworld  narrative  experience  freedom  meaning 
november 2008 by infovore
Play This Thing! | Game Reviews | Free Games | Independent Games | Game Culture
"Just like the inspirations it cites, carry helps explore why we fight, and what happens to the people we send to war, all through the rules. The mechanics of the game work as well as the prose of The Things They Carried or the script of Full Metal Jacket in exploring life in the line of fire..." Sounds really interesting - games' unique ability is to convey meaning through systems, rather than prose, and it looks like carry really embraces that.
games  tabletop  narrative  carry  indie  mechanics 
november 2008 by infovore
War Unlimited: A blog by Reuben Oluwagembi
The blog of Reuben Oluwagembi, the fictional journalist you meet in Far Cry 2.
blog  AR  games  farcry2  fiction  narrative 
november 2008 by infovore
Respect the Character, p1 « BioWare Blog
"...the players are there for their character, not for your story. Your story is just the path for their characters, the medium through which they can play their persona. Once the GM realizes this, they should then realize that respecting the player and the character is paramount to their story. And it’s a surprisingly easy skill to master, because it really is as simple as recognizing what the players and characters want, what they came to do and then give it to them."
narrative  story  rpg  bioware  storytelling  games 
november 2008 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Second thoughts
"But succeed or fail, my awareness of game design is omnipresent, and I like it that way. It enriches my experience of playing. The in-world experience remains my first thought, but my second thought is nearly always focused on the system, especially when that system demonstrates originality or beautiful execution. I don't think I'm the only gamer who behaves this way." No, but it requires a certain degree of awareness of the medium to think about the second; the first is much more immediate, and the second is about an engagements with games, rather than a particular game.
games  fallout  openworld  choice  freedom  design  narrative 
november 2008 by infovore
BioWare Blog
BioWare now have a blog. It looks like it's going to be full of good stuff about games and, especially, writing for them. Can't wait.
bioware  games  writing  rpg  narrative  story 
november 2008 by infovore
GameSetWatch - Opinion: On Far Cry 2's 'Slow Burn'
"...the game tries to define a set of rules and an environment in which memorable experiences are likely to happen, and simply lets the player loose in its world -- a fascinating prospect." This captures a lot of the great things about FC2 well, and in an even-handed manner. The lack of handholding is jarring, but the possibilities it opens up are wonderful. For a tense, hectic, genre, it's interesting to see an entry that's by turns soothing and surreal, amidst the malaria, bushfires, and wholesale slaughter.
games  story  narrative  play  emergence  openworld  farcry2 
october 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: The Limits of Escapism
"This is the challenge, it seems to me: it's to do with the tools of design-- rules and states-- what other media do with images and sound: reveal the world as seen through different eyes, with lapidary clarity and moral courage. And this means moving beyond merely empowering and entertaining the player."
iroquoispliskin  escapism  play  games  media  art  criticism  entertainment  story  narrative 
october 2008 by infovore
Ludomancy » Sense of Wonder Night
"Moon Stories, a collection of my latest three experiments, got selected to be presented at the Tokyo Game Show during the Sense of Wonder Night, the japanese version of the Experimental Gameplay Sessions." Beautiful, notably "I wish I were the Moon"
games  play  calvino  narrative  experimental  gameplay  flash 
september 2008 by infovore
Selling an Experience
"Let’s no longer think in terms of selling them a game. Let’s instead think of selling them an experience." A nice article on the changing shape of game design, particularly when it comes to narrative and participatory hooks.
design  experience  games  narrative  participation  genre 
september 2008 by infovore
Gamasutra - Valve's Faliszek: Not All Game Stories Need 'Evil Masterminds'
"Trying to over-explain the cause of a disaster often detracts from its more tangible impact. ... Instead, Faliszek says, it is more effective to create resonant gameplay experiences that players will remember, particularly if the setting in question, such as a zombie invasion (or a tornado outbreak, for that matter) is already familiar." Why games don't always need tangible villains.
games  resonance  left4dead  valve  story  narrative  technique 
september 2008 by infovore
Another forum game - The Gameshelf
"So why am I mentioning this now? Because Alternity has just started. This is a new Harry Potter game, and it starts from the beginning -- September 1, Harry's first day at school. Only not as in The Philosopher's Stone. In this scenario, Voldemort, er, won." Fanfic-cum-alt-universe-RPGs in the Potterverse being run solely on Livejournal. Amazing.
games  arg  harrypotter  livejournal  fanfic  rpg  roleplaying  storytelling  story  narrative 
september 2008 by infovore
Patsquinade - How my not-great plot happened: a mini post-mortem
"An interesting article at Rock, Paper, Shotgun tackles BioWare's tackling of issues tackling modern society, tackling one of my Mass Effect plots in the process. I responded in the comments, and after looking at how much I yammered on, I figured it was worth posting here as a look inside how these things get into the game, and why some things that seem dumb get done." Patrick Weekes follows up the RPS post criticising his own plot elements with some frank self-criticism, and some interesting explanations; a reminder of how hard creating any kind of meaningful choice can be.
rockpapershotgun  writing  games  masseffect  bioware  criticism  postmortem  plot  story  narrative  choice 
august 2008 by infovore
Feministe » Hair-pulling and braid-weaving
"It seems to me that Tim and the nameless characters of the epilogue represent archetypes of some kind. They don’t stand in for every man and woman, certainly, but they’re emblematic of a certain kind of dysfunctional relationship, one where “I’ll protect you” turns into “I’ll control you.”" A smart, sharp reading of Braid, that understands its gameiness.
braid  games  criticism  writing  critique  narrative 
august 2008 by infovore
Morality Tales - BioWare Versus The Issues | Rock, Paper, Shotgun
"I think, in these fleshed out circumstances, an RPG could be the most remarkable place for getting to grips with matters like abortion and euthanasia. I think _because_ they’re the sorts of subjects it’s completely pointless to talk about in the pub, because it inevitably descends into people entrenching themselves in their currently held position and then hurling stones at the other side, that the RPG would be a space in which the emphasis of thought and consideration would be squarely on you." John Walker on the problem with BioWare's attitude to morality, and some potential solutions.
bioware  rpg  writing  morality  narrative  games  choice  play  debate  issues 
august 2008 by infovore
Frotz Review for iPhone | Touch Arcade
A Z-Code interpreter for the iPhone. Fantastic. If you have an iPhone: get this, and get Spider And Web. My work here is done.
software  ipod  iphone  infocom  zmachine  interactivefiction  games  narrative 
august 2008 by infovore » Blog Archive » Finished Braid
"Every inch of Braid is a painting; every game dynamic makes music. Unlike most platformers, Braid is forgiving; when you miss a jump, you simply back up time, and the visuals and audio cues associated with this mechanic are pleasing of themselves, aesthetically, while also supporting the underlying fiction." Harvey Smith on Braid.
braid  harveysmith  games  play  mechanics  story  narrative 
august 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: Minigolf with a Story
"Narrative, like play, is one of the most basic tools we posses as human beings for coping with experience. And just as play can be fundamentally empowering, there is something distinctly empowering about using the tools of narrative to throw a net of meaning over our lives."
narrative  story  games  play  design  storytelling  mechanics 
august 2008 by infovore
The Artful Gamer · Narratives and Interactivity Still Misunderstood
"We’ve forgotten that our ability to engage with something is a gift inherent to human perception, and instead we’ve attempted to replace that form of engagement with a derivative technological form of interaction."
games  play  interaction  narrative  story  storytelling 
august 2008 by infovore
GameSetWatch - Column: 'Homer in Silicon': Betraying the Protagonist
"if the player identifies with the protagonist and is motivated by the desire for the protagonist to "win" or "succeed", how can satisfying interactive tragedy exist? Won't the player always be trying to avoid actions that propel the story to an unhappy conclusion? What can an interactive tragedy offer to the player in place of traditional metrics of success?" Emily Short on making tragedy playable.
games  interactivefiction  narrative  story  storytelling  interaction 
august 2008 by infovore
Braid » Blog Archive » A lecture about how our games are inherently conflicted.
"This one-hour lecture is about three ways in which current mainstream games are inherently conflicted, and how this holds them back from affecting people as strongly as the forms of linear media they are striving to emulate." Blow's talk from Games:Edu.
lecutre  games  design  art  story  narrative  play  jonathanblow 
august 2008 by infovore
GameSetWatch - In-Depth: Braid 's Blow On Why 'Games Need You' Develop: Braid's Blow On Why 'Games Need You'
"Gameplay elements have meanings outside of the visual and linear; the meaning of the gameplay rules is often in conflict within the visual meanings from the linear meanings, which results in a game becoming conflicted."
gameplay  play  narrative  story  games  jonathanblow  braid  theory 
august 2008 by infovore
Fullbright: Being There
"...a video game is a box of possibilities, and the best stories told are those that arise from the player expressing his own agency within a functional, believable gameworld."
games  rules  contract  play  narrative  storytelling 
august 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: Lasering Dudes is a Sport
"One of the reasons that sports have a such a reign over our imagination is that they feed into our love of storytelling. Sports are made to create situations with narrative significance: last-minute reversals, falls from grace, chances for redemption."
halo  games  play  narrative  storytelling  immersion 
august 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: Gamers are Maximizers of Utility
"I thought this decision to attach a reward to the choice represented a failure of nerve on the part of the designers ... wedding a gameplay-reward to a decision that ought be governed by one's sense of character and motivation."
iroqouispliskin  criticism  games  writing  gta4  narrative  gameplay  storytelling  reward 
july 2008 by infovore
Click Nothing: Ludonarrative Dissonance in Bioshock
"By throwing the narrative and ludic elements of the work into opposition, the game seems to openly mock the player for having believed in the fiction of the game at all."
games  story  criticism  narrative  bioshock  storytelling  interaction  play  design 
july 2008 by infovore
Versus CluClu Land: The Final Exam
"The capacity to convey narrative through interaction is a constitutive rather than accidental feature of the medium. Every time a designer exploits this ability we get closer to finding [...] what forms of expression are unique to games..."
games  criticism  narrative  story  art  expression 
july 2008 by infovore
We Make Holes In Teeth: GDC 2008:: Slides for "Do, don't show"
Pat Redding is Narrative Designer on Far Cry 2. This is his presentation from GDC 2008, with full notes. It's very, very good: all about designing story in an open-world environment. Lots of detail. Designers: you need to read this.
games  narrative  storytelling  openworld  sandbox  presentation  gdc  farcry2 
july 2008 by infovore
'Grand,' but No 'Godfather' -
Junot Diaz on GTAIV in the Wall Street Journal. Excellent writing, on the nature of good vs. great and great vs. seminal; on what art does to us; on how it needs to go farther. Smart, engaged, written by someone who gets culture and who *plays*.
junotdiaz  criticism  writing  games  play  gaming  gta  gtaiv  narrative  art 
july 2008 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: The genius blind spot
"I'm not terribly interested in proving Kojima a genius, but I believe we can accurately call him an auteur, and it's this aspect of his nature as an artist that has me thinking about D.W. Griffith and some interesting parallels between the two."
dwgriffith  cinema  theatre  games  narrative  storytelling  metalgearsolid  mgs4  hideokojima  auteur 
july 2008 by infovore
The Brainy Gamer: Kojima and the theory of everything
"MGS4 is the game that contains everything Hideo Kojima knows about game design and storytelling - and that is precisely what's so thrillingly right and so damnably wrong with it. Faced with a myriad of choices [...] Kojima chose not to choose. "
hideokojima  metalgearsolid  mgs4  games  play  storytelling  narrative  structure 
july 2008 by infovore
Our Writing Is Not Of Your World | Storytellersunplugged
"What that means, though, is that when you’re looking at game writing in that way, you’re trying to fix a busted carburetor with an oil gauge and a cheese grater." Some sensible analysis; such a shame we need to write things like this.
games  writing  narrative  storytelling  play  movies  disconnect  interactivity 
june 2008 by infovore
GameDevBlog: Story in games re-evaluated
"The holy grail for me now wouldn't be the game that can create infinite story - but a game that could procedurally generate infinite interesting content." Jamie Fristrom on games and storytelling. Good stuff.
narrative  games  play  videogames  story  storytelling  procedural 
june 2008 by infovore
Lookspring » The real story
"Every single point along that road is wrong. And every single point along that road takes games somewhere expensive and difficult. [...] Emotionally complex games are great, but so are emotionally crude - or indeed emotionally barren - games." Excellent.
games  narrative  story  play  interaction  storytelling  emotion  engagement 
may 2008 by infovore
Gamasutra - Opinion: Why Time-Management Games Ought To Be Great At Story-telling (And Why They Mostly Aren't)
"The result is a casual game with surprisingly nuanced and interesting characters, with whom the player begins to feel she has a real relationship -- even though all the dialogue occurs in cut scenes which we have no ability to alter." Excellent.
story  storytelling  games  play  interaction  design  narrative  interactiondesign 
may 2008 by infovore
LoneWolfDS Homepage - Play Lone Wolf books on your Nintendo DS
The first of Joe Deaver's adventure gamebooks translated to a rather beautiful NDS port.
homebrew  adventure  gamebook  ds  nintendods  games  play  narrative 
april 2008 by infovore
a presentation on rock'n'roll storytelling | guy parsons for "the reader/writer mashup"
"Adventures in particpatory, interactive, rock'n'roll storytelling." Guy's talk in fulltext format. Nicely done, Guy.
presentation  essay  play  storytelling  narrative  games  arg 
october 2007 by infovore
Wonderland: SXSW: Will Wright Keynote
Alice provides a near-transcription of Will's SXSW keynote; requires a more careful readthrough... but at first glance, it's bloody marvellous. Totally should have gone to SXSW.
willwright  spore  games  play  story  narrative  sxsw  keynote 
march 2007 by infovore
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