Being recently immersed in playing Tears of the Kingdom has led to some frustrations here and there. In an attempt to make those frustrations more than mere feelings, I begin a brief series of essays on a few ways in which certain systems conflict with each other. The first of these essays will focus on the weapon system and how the game and the player can have different aims about how the player is supposed to treat their weapons.
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Talking to Yourself
With the rise of playing video games for an audience, we have been introduced to various kinds of commentary. Most of this is just for the entertainment of those watching. But I explore in this essay how a very specific form of self-conversation can help us process information that the game is providing to us, and thus help us learn more about the game.
Take Note of This
Much as we tend to rely on games to provide us with everything we need, there is value is augmenting that experience. Adding something to the process outside of the game itself. In this essay I will explain ways in which notetaking – the mere addition of pen and paper – can contribute to a better gaming experience.
The Game against the Story
Have you ever played a game where an important and valuable item was taken away…only to be immediately given back? At first glance, it may seem weird for a narrative to effectively mess with you in this way. And yet, the cause of this scene – and anything similar – can be understood as part of a more fundamental problem of design. One which creates a tension between creating a sense of impact for the story, while making sure a game remains fun for the player.
The Player vs. Creator Challenge
Tough content in video games can be a bit divisive. Some people love a really tough challenge, and others can hate the repeated failure that comes with it. But even when we talk about the toughest content in games, we can still run into problems of design – problems where it feels like something wasn’t meant to be completed. In this essay I’ll be exploring how the drive to make a game difficult can effectively go too far and create something genuinely unfun.
Analysis and Opinion
Have you ever finished a game, and as the credits scroll by think about every bit you liked and disliked and try to review the game for yourself? There’s a fair chance the answer is “no.” And yet, if you’ve ever watched someone else play a video game, they will almost certainly do precisely that. In this essay I intend to explore that particular facet of performance and the possible pitfalls that we can run into when analyzing a game we’ve literally just completed.
On Storytelling: Bloodborne
Bloodborne offers some of the most confusing writing in any FromSoft game. Its story is told in a style that is not merely minimalistic, but barely even there. And yet, for those who wish to dig down into it, there are various themes that can be pulled from it. In this essay I will be doing a thematic analysis for Bloodborne and analyzing its world, narrative, and mechanics to pull together a core message for the player.
The Speedrun Crash and Burn
Speedrunning a game may be fun, but it can also cause a lot of stress. And knowing what to do about that stress is important. In this brief essay I’ll share a story of my own recent burnout with speedrunning, the cause, and how I addressed the problem.
The Speedrunning Grind
Since I’ve been learning to speedrun, I wanted to share a bit of my own personal journey in that learning process. In this post I’ll be describing some of my choices, my initial struggles, and my initial successes.
One of the weirdest and yet most fascinating method of approaching video games is speedrunning: attempting to complete a game in the fastest way possible. In this essay I’ll be taking a brief look at what makes speedrunning so fascinating, and the role of community in making speedrunning possible.