Bullet hell games are designed to be tough, but at what point do they become too tough? Using the example of Returnal, I explore how bullet hells are supposed to work and how they can go wrong.
Making good moral choices in video games is complex, and it’s easy to fall back on the simplistic. But when we rely on simple ideas, we lose the power that makes moral choices worth presenting in video games.
When we make moral choices, we often fall back on a set of rules that are easy to remember and stick to. But it can be useful to take a closer look at those rules that we use. In this essay, I’ll look into the moral framework of deontology (i.e. “morality based on rules”), and examine how we might use deontological concepts to create richer moral choices and themes in video games.
Moral choices in games are often framed around broad concepts of right and wrong that are usually given little additional thought. But what would happen if we started to dig into more detail about what makes actions moral and immoral? In this essay I’ll explain the moral philosophy of consequentialism and how it can be used to create richer moral choices within games.
Horror as a genre of video games can be both incredibly appealing and a source for a lot of debate. One major point of contention is what is really “scary.” However, I present the argument that trying to argue about what is and isn’t scary is ultimately pointless, as it confuses a very personal experience for a point of objective debate.
The idea of ludonarrative dissonance feels like one of those concepts that we don’t need to talk more about because all get it. But I offer in this essay that there is value in exploring the idea of this dissonance more, and how games can better embrace the conscious use of ludonarrative dissonance as part of game’s theming.
A common way to make a game’s story seem interesting and urgent is by telling the player they have a limited time to complete it – there’s a ticking timebomb that will cause disaster. But often the use of this timebomb in storytelling creates problems for the gameplay that needs to be addressed. This essay will look at the problem of the ticking timebomb through the lens of how it is used in Cyberpunk 2077.
Building on the last essay about the role of politics in video games, this essay will engage in a case study of how the idea that a game is not political often falls apart. Instead of trying to build a wall, it is better for us to tear that wall apart to be able to talk more honestly about how art/entertainment and politics are connected.
Video games have often been the subject of political controversies, and one such controversy is that they should “stay out” of politics entirely. People often want video games to just be about entertainment and nothing more. However, that argument misunderstands how both politics and entertainment work. In this essay I’ll explore the meaning of “politics” and how video games fit into political discussion.
When we play games, one thing we sometimes do is replay games, for a wide variety of reasons. But when it comes to designing games or talking about them, what is it that makes a game “replayable”? In this essay I’ll explore some factors that contribute to the idea of replayability in games.