Welcome to the Electron Dance Advent calendar. Each day will bring another post from the archives.


Have you read Amateur Dramatics posted on 17 May 2011?

Uh, this one might have started with indignation again and it’s related to Vaulting the Grave which turned up a few days ago. Some players and critics get upset when a game doesn’t make them feel completely immersed and the façade falls away to reveal its clockwork mechanisms.

In many cases, I feel like the fault lies with the players for not trying hard enough. Players forget they are supposed to play a role and the theatre of a game will not survive a player’s persistent rebellion. Do you want games that allow you to do everything or allow you to play the role? These are extremely different goals. In movie-focused AAA, most games are heavily weighted towards role play than making your own story, no matter what people would have you believe.

Believing that ludonarrative dissonance is a serious problem does not automatically make it a serious problem for everyone. But it can make it a serious problem for you.

Go read it!

From the comments:

  • Ben Abraham: “one of the interests that grew out of my permadeath run was exactly this issue you’re talking about: grooming better audiences, or ‘auditioning’ the best ones, as you put it”
  • BeamSplashX: “we really can’t have it both ways, but audiences demand it more and more”
  • Gregg B: “Hundreds of thousands of people love [Minecraft] but I can’t get my head around the role. “
  • Jordan: “Everything contrived is an attempt to replicate something genuine and often spontaneous”

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3 thoughts on “Countdown 2016, 7: Conviction

  1. Wonderful! To this theatralization fits wonderfully the experience by CrowsCrowsCrows under the title “Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger And The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist”. The meta level of a game.

  2. Yikes, ‘Hundreds of thousands of people love [Minecraft]’. That was obviously a long time ago; it’d be millions now!

    This topic you’ve touched on a number of times and I remember trying to wrangle with it myself over on Tap (in what I consider one of my worst pieces!) but I think you make light work of it here. The Stanley Paradox, one of my favourites of yours, comes to mind and, oh hey, you link back to this article.

  3. Merzmensch – I have downloaded and started the game but not got through it yet. I haven’t really played very much at all over the last few weeks… but I can see what you mean.

    Gregg – I think there’s more life in this topic. I fancy returning to it, because there it might be time to pull in the disparate threads of Spec Ops: Hypnosis in the Sand, Amateur Dramatics, The Stanley Paradox and even The Dishonest Player. There’s an article (or film) in here somewhere – I can feel it!

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