Blog

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

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.

Talking about Games: The Sequel Paradox

Sequels are everywhere. And just like with anything else, we like to engage in criticism of sequels. But what does it mean to properly compare a sequel to its predecessor, and what kinds of pitfalls can we fall into when trying to critique sequels in particular?

On Storytelling: Narratives through Teamwork

When we experience narratives in games, we tend to experience them alone. We can share that solitary experience with others, but the original process of engaging with the story is something we do on our own. But what happens to the narrative as a concept when a game requires us to collaborate with others to construct the story?

The Insurmountable Challenge

Video games often hand us challenges, some of them significantly more difficult than others. But when do those challenges go too far? How do we determine what makes a good versus a bad challenge in a game?

Reflection: Research and Writing

After two whole years of working on this blog, I take some time to do a retrospective on research and provide some tips for those who might be interested in digging into information on their own.

Talking about Games: Self-Deception

We all have our different preferences when it comes to games. But how well do we understand what’s going on in our own minds? In this essay I explore the idea of “self-deception” – how sometimes we can be completely unaware of our own likes and dislikes because we basically trick ourselves.

The Villains We Love

Video games hand us all sorts of villains to fight. And of those villains, we find some of them more or less fascinating. But what is it that really makes a villain interesting? In this essay I explore some of the aspects that help us sympathize with and understand villains so that we are able to find them compelling, and as such making them strong villains.

Video Games, Performance, and Fun

The rise of playing games as content has created a series of problems about how we think about what to play. Play as performance runs the risk of letting the performance get in the way of fun. In this essay I examine a particular facet of this problem through the idea of avoid particular games because they are “bad” for streaming. The purpose will be to show how this focus on performance leads to otherwise poor decisions on our part.

Talking about Games: Dehumanization

In talking about games, it can be surprisingly easy to forget that they don’t just appear from the sky. They’re made by human beings. And because they’re made by people, perhaps we should think about what it means to talk about games *as though* they’re made by people.

Talking about Games: The Curious Nature of Patience

Release dates for video games are so common that we almost expect them as a matter of course. But release dates also create all of these other expectations that can lead to unhealthy behavior – such as a developer receiving death threats when they delay a game. I want to examine what a “release date” really is and how we should treat it, and how this knowledge can help lead to healthier relationships with the things we enjoy.

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