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.
One thing we rely on when we talk about games is categories: those little boxes that tell us what genre a game belongs to. And yet, those categories are often vague or messy, and can lead to a lot of (often silly) debates. So in this essay I will propose some broad ideas about what categories are for and how we might rethink our use of them.
Have you ever looked at a lineup of major game releases, only to feel like there are way too many sequels, and not many new properties? In this essay I will explore why we can often end up seeing a lot of longrunning video game franchises, and why that can often cause a problem for the games themselves.
Games have been getting bigger and taking longer to finish. It’s not uncommon to see big games boast about how many hours it will take to do everything. But is this tendency towards bigger maps and longer playtimes actually valuable?
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.