Unified Games

The Classical Unities & Open-World Games

Essay - Unified Games

In recent years, the open world philosophy of game design has moved from innovative exception to nearly the norm. The idea of completely fleshed-out spaces that are fully interactive and explorable has gripped the minds of players and developers alike, and literally hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in the pursuit of the biggest, most detailed open-world game possible on current hardware. This development has seemed like a revolution in game design, but it is really just the ultimate realization of the literary and dramatic theories of the unities that have existed since Aristotle. Continue Reading

From Monopoly to Metal Gear

A Survey of Ludic Satire

Essay - Satire

Let’s talk about satire and games for a moment. Where these two intersect successfully we find critical, thought-provoking works that challenge contemporary social, cultural, political, or ideological beliefs. For this article I’ll adopt a rather loose definition of satire as an attempt to critique accepted beliefs through “irony, derision, or wit.” And while there are a wide range of beliefs worthy of criticism, I’m interested here primarily in accepted notions of violence and aggression as a means of resolution in mainstream videogames. The argument put forward here is that games provide a new form of criticism, ludic satire, that emanates from choice. Continue Reading