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I mentioned this blog in a reflection post about my game project this past semester: . My project dealt with narrative and play in games, by creating a game that tried to tie narrative to the gameplay. I note a number of flaws with this project, and next semester I am going to be taking a more academic look at this subject. I also mentioned your book, which I recently bought for part of my research and general interest.
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2011 on Stories and Games (1): Art at ihobo
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I'm just going to quietly mention that my latest blog post is a discussion of my game project this semester (which dealt with narrative and play in games). I mentioned this blog post in mine, so I thought I'd say something about that here. Anyway, the long post is here ( ) if you were interested. My next semester will be taking a more academic look at this subject.
@Altugi Forgive me if I am completely misinterpreting this, for I am not well versed in linguistics or discourse analysis, but what I'm getting out of this is that as soon as you play the game, you're saying that the player is no longer real, but is instead simply a part of the discourse of the game. Their reality is cut off and replaced by being part of the artifact (that is, the game). I'm not sure how well I can get behind this, as it suggests that every player approaches every game the same way. It seems to suggest that the human experience isn't important, and that a player's history and personality are thrown away as soon as he or she enters the game-space. And I just can't discount the player's experience as being the same from person to person. People are different. They get something different out of the game. The same person may not even get the same experience out of the game if they play it ten years later. I cannot show you a single human being who is so immersed in a game that when they play it, they are only playing the game and do not bring anything from the outside into it. There is no blank slate person who does not temper play with his or her own experience from outside the game. Games are not written only by the designer, but are co-written by the player. Reality seeps in and becomes a part of the game. Again, I may have misinterpreted what you were saying. I'm not an expert in that form of rhetoric. I'm seeking clarification if I'm not getting it. As you've written it, to someone from outside those methods, I just don't see something I can agree with. I just see it as a denial of human experience.
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I love this so hard. I think this really where I'm going with all my research. I've always been interested in how play and story can work together in a game, and that has been my major research focus so far, both as a designer and as an academic. I hate watching cutscenes (but you have to watch them). I want to feel like I'm a part of the story, not like I'm being story'd at.
Toggle Commented Dec 5, 2011 on Stories and Games (1): Art at ihobo
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Do you mean that on lower difficulties, the other options were not present? You couldn't blackmail the scientist to get the keycard on the easy mode? Because if that's the case than I am very intrigued indeed.
Thinking more about this, I wonder if what I am doing is not directly opposite what you've suggested. I am, still, looking at adjusting the story based on difficulty, but I'm tying it to the game's overall difficulty, not just the literacy difficulty. But it can boil down to the same kind of thing, that the player gets as complex a narrative as they want. My prototype, in a way, punishes the player if they want story but don't want a hard game. I realize it's a flaw of the system I've devised, but it is trying get at the concept of an easy or hard narrative.
I am currently working on just this! One of my projects I am working on for my MA is looking at difficulty and how it relates to narrative. This was spawned by noticing a lot of games reporting that "easy mode" means "story mode" (notably Deus Ex: Human Revolution's "Tell me a story" difficulty setting), when in reality, the story isn't affected by this choice at all. I've written a few blog posts on this so far: and . The first explains my rationale, and is a bit of a rant on the idea that stories can be more complex and that just because a game is easy does not mean that you get more story out of it. In the second, I talk about a project that I did for a class from about a quarter through the making of it. It talks about the game that I was making for one of my graduate classes and details what it was I was trying to do with it. I am due for a third blog post on the subject, reflecting on my finished (prototypical) game and what I think succeeded and failed in my execution. Next semester I will be doing a more formal research project about this and on the concept of narrative and difficulty working in tandem, with the aim of producing an article for publication. Very happy to see other people spontaneously talking about this! @Doug D: I want to challenge you that in most RPGs, difficulty and narrative can be inversely related. If you take a side quest in a standard RPG, the player gets some extra story, most often not relating to the main narrative, and then the player gets a reward: "Here's a new, powerful weapon for you" or "Here have more of ." The player becomes more powerful, but the game's difficulty remains static. The game becomes easier for the player. The Elder Scrolls (TES) games (and related) try to address this by making the game harder if the player is more powerful (level adjustment of enemies, which has been criticized and which I feel ambivalent about). I feel like TES games tie narrative and difficulty in a very happenstance kind of way. It's very systemic and may not always work out if the player just doesn't gain levels.
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Jun 6, 2011