Blog

A current listing of blog posts. As I add more posts over time I will be grouping posts together to help ease navigation.

Being Comfortable with Our Own Judgments

Gatekeeping is a frustrating component of enjoying games. People who seek to tell us the right games to play and the right way to play them ruin the experience of gaming itself. And yet, we tend to let these people not just dominate the conversation, but dominate our own perceptions of games. In this essay…

Fun with Friends

Just a brief essay on different experiences playing games with friends.

“You Should Try This Game”

As people who love playing video games, we love to share that interest with others. And that can include sharing it with people who don’t play games themselves. Meaning that we often face the problem of “what game should I suggest to introduce this person to video games?” However, in this essay I explain how…

On Storytelling: The Promise of Mystery

Mysteries can be fun and engaging, and hold a lot of promise when a player can be the main character. Yet, so many games that offer mysteries end up falling short. Where do they go wrong? In this essay I will be looking at some ways in which games that hold the promise of a…

Watch Where You’re Going

Have you ever struggled with a camera in a game? Ever been unsure where you’re going relative to the rest of the world? This brief essay covers some basic issues of camera orientation in games and why they cause such annoyance for players.

Collectathon-athon

The “collectathon” as a game genre has always been a bit weird. And attempts to capture the old spirit of collectathons in modern games have fallen short, sometimes in a big way. I use this essay to examine a few different entries in the genre to investigate what a collectathon is and what makes them…

On Storytelling: Narrative across Media

Video game stories can often be so big that they can’t be contained in a single game. We need a whole series of games. Or maybe even games and books and movies. But how does trying to tell a single cohesive story in this way affect the actual narrative(s) that we get?

On Storytelling: Interaction and Player Knowledge

What makes a story that is unique to video games? We usually focus on the player’s ability to shape the narrative. But this essay will explore how a different form of interaction – the player’s understanding of systems – can lead to a unique storytelling experience.

On Storytelling: Play, Don’t Show

Cutscenes in video games often get a lot of complaints. And sometimes games use cutscenes when they shouldn’t. But how should we think about the rule for when a cutscene is valuable versus not valuable for storytelling?

Player Motivation

What happens when a game doesn’t really help you feel motivated to play it? What can games do to help players feel engaged? In this essay I explore how sometimes developers can miss the core question of why a player should want to keep playing their game.

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