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narrative

The Illusion of Depth

All fiction tries to create the illusion of depth. Describing a world in great detail takes too long, and long-form exposition is boring. So authors use tricks. Part of the the attraction of the [Lord of the Rings] is, I think, due to the… Continue Reading →

Systems and theology in The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac is a retro-styled action game inspired by the Old Testament* story in which God orders Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a demonstration of his faith. The game has prompted discussion about the relationship between its… Continue Reading →

More thoughts than you need about Alan Wake

Multimodality Alan Wake draws on a collection of interesting sources—but if you’ve heard anything about the game, you probably know that already. Between obvious references to Twin Peaks and frequent shout-outs to Stephen King and other writers, developer Remedy Entertainment is ingratiatingly eager… Continue Reading →

Narrative in game-based learning

Over the last two years, I have spent a lot of time reading studies about K-12 and college courses that incorporate elements of game design. Sometimes, these elements are directly adopted into the structure of the course: educators use points… Continue Reading →

Unserious game: Singularity

Singularity is not the most linear game I’ve ever played, but it sometimes felt that way. Blandly American protagonist Nate Renko is either the most blasé guy in the world, or else is mute (perhaps brain-damaged from the game-opening helicopter crash?). As… Continue Reading →

In praise of the "Let’s Play"

A list Dwarf Fortress Animal Crossing Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura Jurassic Park: Trespasser Might & Magic Legacy of Kain Darkseed I Have no Mouth and I Must Scream Deadly Premonition With the exception of Dwarf Fortress and Deadly… Continue Reading →

How games tell stories, part 5: wandering the wasteland

This is part 5 of an ongoing series on the techniques that game designers employ to tell stories in video games. If you haven’t read the earlier posts, you might want to do that first. II. Exploration (continued) If my… Continue Reading →

How games tell stories, part 4: Exploratory narrative and the player-as-author

This is part 4 of an ongoing series on the techniques that game designers employ to tell stories in video games. If you haven’t read part 1, part 2, and part 3, you might want to do that first. II…. Continue Reading →

How games tell stories, part 3: did you say something?

This is part 3 of an ongoing series on the techniques that game designers employ to tell stories in video games. If you haven’t read part 1 or part 2, do that first. I. Exposition (continued) Aural exposition I sometimes… Continue Reading →

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