Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Exploring ludodissonance

Readers of my previous post on ludonarrative dissonance may have noted that formal dissonance and moral/ethical dissonance didn't sound all that bad.  Defying genre expectations?  Putting two ethical systems into conflict?  It sounds more like art than bad game design, right?

To be quite clear, ludodissonance can be quite bad--bad meaning that it creates effects contrary to the desires of the game designer.  If the goal of the game designer is to make a serious game, but the mechanics of the game make the characters look ridiculous, the game designer has unequivocally failed.

However, "bad design" is not all ludodissonance has to offer.  Dissonance is a very useful tool in the creation of art, so I want to survey examples of dissonance outside games, within games, and then speculate on ways to think about ludodissonance going forward.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Schell School

To me, the most important part of the test is the final task: turning it in to the provost.  You have to look confident, almost dismissive, but not too much or they'll think you're fronting.  I don't know if they actually have a hidden score sheet somewhere grading my "attitude," but it's not really about the points at that moment.  It's a sense of propriety--an affirmation of what you are and what you stand for.  It's a test of who you are as a person: too arrogant and you're a bully; too timid and you're a coward, unfit for your position.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

coupla links

This is why we make games.

And this is why we read the comments section.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Going deeper into dissonance

Way back in 2007, Clint Hocking proposed the term ludonarrative dissonance to describe the disparities that often occur between the "story" elements of a video game and the rules that govern its gameplay.  The example he used to put this idea forward was Bioshock, but it has since been applied to many games to understand where they fell short.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Violence, part 6: The spinning top

Like the rest of the multitudes, I enjoyed Inception very much.  Not only is it a intricately crafted work of cinema, it also creatively synthesized new findings in neurobiology, several strands of post-post-modern philosophy, and that familiar alien world known to all of us as dreams. 

And it was much to my chagrin to see that top spinning at the end of the film.  As soon as the credits began to roll, I knew what the conversation would be about on the way out of the theater, and sure enough, it was insipid debate over whether or not "It was all a dream."  I don't want to get too bogged down in the foolishness of wondering whether the events depicted in Inception really happened or not, but I do want to use this as a shining example of people getting caught up in the wrong debate.  And shame on Christopher Nolan for placating whatever studio boss who suggested that ending.