What makes a given game mechanic and a given genre “compatible”? As easy as it might be to say that some combinations aren’t compatible, the problem is actually much more difficult to solve, and demands careful attention.
Video games often allow you to choose how you want the game to end, often by quite literally asking you which ending you want. But presenting stories in this way is ultimately counterproductive. In this essay, I’ll explore the idea of how asking players to pick the ending they want generally undermines the ultimately purpose of both storytelling and interaction.
Crunch is an aspect of video game development that has been gaining attention in recent years. And for those who are aware of what it is, it’s horrific to even read about. In this essay I take a deeper dive to examine crunch through the lens of moral philosophy to help put into broader terms just exactly why crunch is wrong.
“Why do people play video games?” The question seems easy to answer, but will that answer tell us much? In this essay I dig a bit more into the question of why people play video games to provide some ideas for how we might better talk about video games with other people.
Roguelikes are a genre of video games that rely on randomness. But in what ways can that randomness cause problems for the game – and more importantly, the player?
When we talk about morality in art, we often want to teach lessons to the person viewing that art. Video games are no different in trying to teach lessons. But how we teach lessons – especially moral lessons – is important, and much tougher than we may think.
Storytelling is a core part of creating games, but as we try to make more and more complex stories, what should we be aiming for? In this essay I explore the idea of how to incorporate philosophical questions into the storytelling process.
Video games with moral choice systems often like to judge the player for their choices. But these judgments are likely undermining the very purpose of having moral choice systems. So what are the pitfalls of implementing judgments, and how might those pitfalls be avoided?
Morality in video games often looks at good and evil, but tends to miss the interesting conflicts that take place between those two extremes. How might games be better able to portray a sense of moral greyness that is interesting and reflects how morality actually works?
There is a subtle difference between a game designed to be engaging and a game designed to eat up your time, and sometimes it can feel difficult to tell the difference. This essay examines how games can cross the line into having so many options it ultimately hurts the game.