Sep 082011
The crying game

At ihobo yesterday, Chris Bateman renewed his argument that game mechanics don’t (or can’t) make you cry. As he puts it in his original post on this subject from 2008: This is the nub of the issue here: a story can make you cry by empathising with the protagonist (or another character), but a game (when viewed as a formal system) cannot do this. It follows that the only way that a videogame can make you cry is by using narrative tools that have nothing to do with games as formal systems whatsoever. Although I think there’s something to this, [Read more…]

Sep 062011
System and story

This is not a manifesto. I don’t believe your approach to writing games criticism sucks. I don’t know you, and I can’t tell you what to write, or how to write. I’m only speaking for myself here. If you need advice on where to start, plenty of people will be happy to tell you how to think about games. The narratologists will insist you focus on storytelling, on plot and character and setting. The ludologists will tell you that only the rules and mechanics that make up the system really matter, and that narrative stuff is just window dressing. There [Read more…]