Apparently I’ve placed myself in the center of a divisive issue with the publication of my new article, â€œâ€˜You are dead. Continue?â€™: Conflicts and complements in game rules and fiction.â€ [Note: There are some spoilers in here, including for the ending of Shadow of the Colossus.]
The paper might look somewhat familiar to regular readers of Geek Studies, as it weaves together some strands I’ve been playing with here for awhile. I discuss how the trial-and-error approach to death and failure can be a frustrating narrative interruption in games where the characters, story, and emotional involvement are treated as comparably important to the gameplay mechanics. Some games in recent years, however, have offered differentâ€”and sometimes quite emotionally engagingâ€”ways of thinking about death and failure.
So, what’s this divisive issue I speak of? Well, game studies scholars might call it “ludology” versus “narratology” (even if I see it as a bridge between these). Among gamers, though, it seems to boil down to “the way games have traditionally been” versus “the direction (some) games are headed.”