A few hours ago, I twittered about Denis Dyack’s Develop talk on how narrative is going to overtake gameplay in importance:
SorenJohnson: Hey Denis, if you put the narrative in front of the gameplay, you are no longer making a game. You’re making a movie. http://bit.ly/193Qdz
Harvey Smith responded to my tweet, challenging me on defining everything as either a game or a movie. Then Clint Hocking jumped in. Followed by Rob Fermier. Then Brenda Brathwaite suggested we start using the #gamedesign tag. (I had just started using #dyackrant, but too late…) Then Ian Bogost. And David Jaffe. And Damion Schubert. Even John Romero made an apperance. It felt like a virtual post-GDC Fairmont chat. The discussion is now spiraling out to larger and larger circles – just search for “#gamedesign” – and I’m not sure how long it will carry forward but it was an interesting experience. Twitter is quite poor at helping outside readers understand the context of most tweets, but as a pure social activity for members of the discussion, it is currently unrivalled on the Net.
Update: in_orbit did some voodoo with the Twitter API to produce a threaded version: http://orbit.vect.org/misc/gamedesign.html. Hey, this Web thingy is pretty cool!
Unfortunately, trying to make sense of that conversation – multiple interwoven conversations really – afterwards is like trying to pull a thread from a conversation between two lunatics. It is not much different than trying to parse a chat log from an IRC or IM conversation; except that there is a lot of “tag noise”. Twitter makes for a social experience, but the essay form of blogs is far better for exchanging ideas.
Ok, that was great. And i had the exact same feeling “AHHHH…THIS is the reason why Twitter is awesome”.
I was listening to the latest 3 Moves Ahead podcast where you guested(?) and suddenly i saw your comment on twitter. Soon enough i was adding everyone in that conversation just to keep up.
Great stuff 🙂
André Costa @ QT3
I’m not convinced this is something Twitter is naturally good at. After all, compressing arguments in to 140 characters has serious downsides, like frequent misunderstandings. The tags are nice, but surely you get the same sort of power in a forum?
Thank god for the in_orbit thing. I was having problems following it for a while as well.
Does it ultimately matter whether something is a “game” in a literal semantic sense? It would be useful if we had a word for interactive narratives other than “game”, to seperate pure games with strict rulesets and clearly definied win/loss conditions from creations that use elements of “games” but don’t follow the strict definition, but currently we don’t, so they’re all games.
At any rate, what’s wrong at the end of the day with making something that is essentially an interactive movie? Shouldn’t the goal be to make things that our audience finds interesting and meaningful rather than trying to fit what we do into strict semantic categories. So let’s say that we decide that Metal Gear Solid isn’t really a “game” because of its strictly defined narrative and frequent use of cut-scenes. OK, so we’ve decided that. Does it ultimately make any difference to me as someone experiencing whatever Metal Gear Solid is? No, not really. I’m going to “play” it because I find it compelling, not because of what word we use to define it.
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