Strategic Ambiguity

Papers Please and The Virtues of Silence

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A principle of game design theory is that constant feedback from the game-system is critical for a particular design to be ‘good’ (Salen & Zimmerman, 2005). From a usability standpoint, I agree, but problems arise when narrative information is conveyed with the same rigidity and specificity as an ammo count. This is one of the reasons that ludonarrative dissonance occurs in modern video games, which is broadly defined as the phenomenon in videogames where narrative elements stand in contrast to the interactive elements (Hocking, 2007; Yap, 2014:13). As a result, the story presented can become incoherent. Continue Reading

“Bullet Feels”

First Person Podcast Episode 6

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Episode 6 of the First Person Podcast will discuss the critical darling Undertale. We cover the attempts at gender neutrality, the ups and downs of pacifism, the anxiety produced when mixing bullet hell and RPG elements and the barriers to entry when playing such a meta game. This podcast is full of spoilers so we recommend you play Undertale first if you were planning on it. Continue Reading