Sci-fi game or Sci-fi wrapper: how many “sci-fi games” lack a sci-fi narrative

The magic of science Science fiction is one of my favorite themes within video games.  The tales of science and technology beyond our understanding is fascinating to me.  When speaking of technology and our comprehension of it, British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke famously noted “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”, an adage which…

Lucky Lark – pt 2: The Art of deception

I wrote about my inspiration for a traveling merchant character within Fallout 4 in my character article Lucky Lark – pt 1: The helpless & the raiders. In today’s article I’ll be discussing the development of my character Lark, and the process I went through in defining his playstyle. Perks Attack Dog – While Lark can seem like the selfish type,…

Drawing a connection: mechanics & theme

Games today focus heavily on theme, whether we are talking about board games or video games, theme plays a major part in deciding what games get published. A byproduct of this mentality and marketing strategy is that we often see the exact same mechanics being reskinned over and over to sell to a demographic based…

How genres shape the impact of a game: Roleplaying Narratives

Genres and what a game means to a player The use of genres to identify and categorize the content of different forms of art is nothing new, however the change in genre in games can have a massive impact on the gameplay experience.  The differences and defining points of genres within gaming have grown and…

The playthrough paradox: why we play games multiple times

What’s in a playthrough? A playthrough is considered starting a fresh game and completing the main objective or at least the critical path of progression.  For some, known as completionists, it is about finishing every single game task before reaching an end condition such as the final boss.  For others playthroughs are simply means of…

Playing pretend: attire’s role in roleplaying:

Within roleplaying games players are asked to adopt the morality, views, and emotions of the character they play.  Along the progression of their character they make choices that help define the direction their character develops.  One important aspect of how the player attaches to their character is the gear the character uses.  Are they dressed…

Skyrim Remastered: returning to an awe inspiring open world

With updates to graphical fidelity, performance, visual effects, access to mods, plus all of the original release’s DLC in one package Bethesda is ensuring that the remastered version of Skyrim will be the definitive open world experience. However, the reason it is poised to rock the world all over again is how excellent the game’s…

LEGO Pandora: the use and misuse of intellectual properties in video games

There is an ongoing discussion within the game development community on whether the core of a gameplay experience is the mechanics the player interacts with or the narrative the experience creates. Narratologists side with the story as an experience whereas ludologists (ludology being the study of games and / or play in general) state that…

Zelda: evolution of the open world 

The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that has played a major role in defining the concept of open world gameplay. Open world or sandbox games utilize a large game world with a variety of spaces that can typically be accessed in any order the player chooses.  Some areas may be locked for the purposes of…

Factions: politics and purpose

Many games these days feature the ability to pick a side in a conflict, Imperials vs Stormcloaks, Intuition vs Mystic vs Valor, The Institute vs The Brotherhood of Steel, etc. The choice of what side you are on can be a reflection of your friends (tribalism), your personal beliefs (philosophy), or simply curiosity for the…