Monthly Archives February 2013

The three most common techniques for telling stories in games

Mainstream games, or at least a significant subset that I’m too lazy to define here, make use of three big techniques to tell stories: Cut-scenes. Invisible boxes. Environmental storytelling. I think both game developers and players understand these techniques by now, and in fact I think players are getting tired of them. I know I […]

Why we called our game Albion

Some time in 1994 we (the Albion team) were thinking of a name for our new role-playing game. We knew it would involve Celtic culture somehow. As well as spaceships and aliens, of course. Some of my personal criteria for game titles were: It’s nice when a game’s title starts with an “a”, because then […]

A rant about games and how they’re perceived

Last night I had a discussion on Twitter with Luke Dicken about game definitions, and why they matter. It reminded me of some strongly-held views I’ve had for some time about attempts to place games in a larger context: art, society, culture, et cetera. I don’t care if games are a legitimate art form, medium […]

Pushing ideas to different parts of your brain

A couple of months ago The New Yorker published a profile of Hilary Mantel by Larissa MacFarquhar. I found this paragraph particularly interesting: When she’s starting a new book, she needs to feel her way inside the characters, to know what it’s like to be them. There is a trick she uses sometimes, which another […]

Game definitions and the designer’s toolbox

When you hear someone say “that’s not a game,” they usually mean “this is not what I was expecting from a game”. Game definitions are like tools. You need to get something done, so you open your toolbox, pick the right tool, and then use it. As a craftsman, you care about your tools, you […]