Little Story, Big Heart

Before the hiatus, I was talking about why I thought that, despite the very simple mechanics and gameplay, the game ‘To the Moon’ was a better experience as a game than it would have been as a movie. In that, I made a comment that there were a few games that I really enjoyed for reasons that were difficult to describe – not because they’re flawless, and not despite their flaws, and not because of their flaws, really, either. I also said I was going to come back to that later, and so here we are. Continue reading

Interactivity and Managing Pacing

So now that I got that rant from last week out of my system, let’s spend some time on the topic I actually wanted to talk about. Interactivity and Pacing.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about pacing in the past couple of days, because I’ve been editing, and editing means fixing up the horrendous pacing errors I made in the first draft. Continue reading

Narrative Meaning Under External Influence

I was at Continuum Convention all weekend, so I’ve been talking to people about all sorts of things literary and interpretation-related. And then I got home, had my traditional bout of con flu, and therefore played games for a couple of days. So hold onto your hats, kids, this is an esoteric one. Continue reading

Introduction: Little Nightmares Series

Recently a friend asked me to play a game called Little Nightmares.

This request has been one of the best arguments I have for peer pressure occasionally being a good thing, because it quickly rocketed to ‘best video game I’ve played all year’ and definitely holds a place in my top five games of all time. I’ll add some qualifiers to that, because just because I love something doesn’t mean I think it’s flawless, but it definitely qualifies for one of my top five slots. Continue reading

Mass Effect, Alien Design and the Unknowable Other

As mentioned in the intro post, this is one of my pet topics so hold onto your hats, kids. Please note: Later I say that I am about to spend a paragraph spoiling the original Mass Effect trilogy. This did not end up being the case. As of writing this edit, I’m about 1,000 words into that particular rant, so if you don’t want the original Mass Effect trilogy spoiled, it may be best to skip this post altogether. Continue reading

RPG Scope ft. Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition

One of the most important aspects of writing a story is to understand the scope of what you’re writing. In order to create a compelling story, you have to have a balance of goals and threats, so that everything feels right to the readers. If you have, say, a slice-of-life type story, the threats to your character’s goals will be normal, mundane things, and your character should react accordingly. If you’ve got a high fantasy story about a villain who wants to destroy the world, on the other hand, you’re going to have much bigger threats, and your characters will react accordingly to that instead. This applies also to the secondary threats. At least to my eye, high fantasy romance arcs often fall flat because I’m often left thinking ‘why is this as important as the world-shattering plot that’s going on in the background?’ Continue reading