Tighten up the Narrative in Level 3: The grammar of videogames

[Originally posted on Medium Difficulty] In the great sandwich of videogames, game mechanics are the baguette and game stories are the stuffing. Whether a game is simply a thin spread of butter on an oven fresh bun or a triple-decker steak’n’cheese with pan fried vegetables and extra dressing, a game is composed of these two … Continue reading Tighten up the Narrative in Level 3: The grammar of videogames

Gaming the Dice: How Randomness Contributes to Game Experiences

[Originally posted on PopMatters] There’s a story to Risk and Settlers of Catan and Monopoly but not in the games themselves. Sure, there’s an identifiable setting that makes them more than flat pieces of cardboard—the unconquered world, the geological absurdity that is Catan island, Britain street(?)—and the point of these games is to become emotionally engaged … Continue reading Gaming the Dice: How Randomness Contributes to Game Experiences

We Are One: JRPGs, the Group Journey, and the Mechanics of Cooperation

[originally posted on PopMatters] Somewhere during the first third of Final Fantasy VII, as the party grows and events begin coalescing, the protagonist, Cloud, complains that he’s turning into a “three-ring circus.” This is a cute bit of meta-humor as the game followed the then common convention of having party members travel around inside the body … Continue reading We Are One: JRPGs, the Group Journey, and the Mechanics of Cooperation

The Case for Characters

The video games I love most, I love for their stories. I studied Literature in university and I have worked at two different movie theaters. I’ve been an arts and entertainment journalist/critic for five years now and counting. I’ve previewed and reviewed novels, short story collections, poetry, albums, films, concerts, ballets, graphic novels, plays, concerts, … Continue reading The Case for Characters