The Ludic Rashomon

A Rashomon, named after Akira Kurosawa’s 1950 film, is a story repeated several times from different characters’ perspectives. Each retelling adds more information from each character until, in the end, a full story emerges. The Rashomon effect is a psychological phenomenon wherein multiple witnesses view the same event but describe it with different or even … Continue reading The Ludic Rashomon

Imagine the Power: Disembodied Violence in Fantasy Traditions

Violence is paramount to maintaining fantasy fiction and disembodied violence is a pillar of the fantasy genre. Disembodied violence is the celebration of violent power, or the expression of violent power against unthinking but vaguely human-shaped antagonists; it’s the kind of violence that isn’t really violent because it doesn’t take place against another person. Take Iron Man 2: in … Continue reading Imagine the Power: Disembodied Violence in Fantasy Traditions

Life at the Grindstone: the small significance of grinding

The Magus by John Fowles follows an entitled, selfish English graduate as he escapes his failed ambitions and relationships to a Greek island. There he meets Maurice Conchis, a billionaire intellectual who may be (but probably isn’t) connected to a supernatural force. The novel, set just after the Second World War, explores post-war masculine anxiety, … Continue reading Life at the Grindstone: the small significance of grinding

Something from Nothing: Authored Emergence in Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive

[Originally posted on The Ontological Geek] A lot of what makes games special is their ability to produce spontaneous and sincere moments of narrative power. Games only move when a player does something, so it’s powerful when something unplanned and beautiful results from a player’s mundane button tapping. Even now videogame apologists are quick to use the … Continue reading Something from Nothing: Authored Emergence in Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive

View From the Side

[originally posted on Unwinnable] Videogame interactivity is so great. Who wants to watch a hero when you can be the hero? That’s the promise games keep giving us on the back of the box, isn’t it? But they seldom deliver on that promise. Games welcome their players to a world, lay out a central conflict … Continue reading View From the Side