“Where do you get your ideas from?” is a question I’ve been hearing a lot recently. That’s mostly with regard to 30 Second Sci Fi, a project of mine where I’m writing one short sci fi story every day. I’ve been writing for eight months now, so we’re 2/3 of the way done. Only another […]Read more "Where the stories come from"
On the morning of 14 November 2008, a 15 year-old boy was rushed to hospital in Laholm, Sweden. He was suffering from an apparent epileptic fit, brought on by exhaustion and dehydration. Investigating doctors discovered that the cause of his illness was self-inflicted. The boy had been playing Wrath of the Lich King, an expansion of […]Read more "The Three Fundamentals of Powerful Interactive Communications"
This post is the text, more or less, of a talk I just gave in Nottingham for TEDxUoN. The summer that I was eighteen years old, I went on a bike trip to Ireland. I borrowed my older brother’s bike and got my own plane ticket. I was going alone. It was the first really […]Read more "TEDxUoN: Communication and the power of video games"
Valve is a fast-growing business in a dying market. They’re one of the biggest forces in PC gaming, thanks to great games and also Steam, their gaming network/app store/publishing platform. But PC sales are in freefall, so Valve has realized that they are doomed. Doomed, that is, unless they make a play for either mobile devices or the […]Read more "How the Steam Console could disrupt the gaming market"
Comedy gold. In anticipation of this documentary and ensuing flame-wars, the head of communications for BBC Worldwide, Phil Fleming, has announced that the BBC’s own games are “absolutely not addictive”. Fleming suggested the firm’s own game output is completely safe in the hands of minors. “The games that we do are family-based, they’re not about […]Read more "Update: BBC Video Games “Not Addictive”"
I’m a big fan of games without a built-in story. For my money, the best thing about games is that they can let players create and experience a story for themselves, rather than smacking them down into a linear narrative someone else has dreamt up. I’m not against linear storytellng at all, mind. I just […]Read more "Civilization: A Game in Three Acts"
Adrian has been writing a fascinating series of posts on Civilization over at mssv. I’m a massive Civ fan myself. I installed the very first version of the game from floppy disks onto my mom’s computer back in 1992. It was a beige IBM desktop, whose processing power would seem puny next to a lot […]Read more "Scale and Storytelling in Civilization"
Why do journalists focus on story so much? There are other ways of gaining and transmitting understanding. Stories are necessarily limited. A narrative has to use characters, locations, a clear plot. These are necessarily artificial – an abstraction of reality. What about complex systems? Like climate change. Like the national budget. The arms trade. Or […]Read more "news:rewired"
People say there’s not much good storytelling in games, but I think that’s simply not true. I think, instead, that most people are looking in the wrong place. The other day I was playing Left 4 Dead 2, and something awesome happened: a narrative of altruism, sacrifice . . . and ultimately, betrayal. The stuff […]Read more "Drama, not Prose: Storytelling in Games"
Britain’s Parliament just published a video game that’s meant to give a taste of what it’s like being a back-bench MP. It’s pretty good. WIN, in fact. MP for a Week isn’t an action-filled extravaganza or a feast of beautiful 3D graphics. Instead, it’s an innovative interactive experience that uses good, relevant gameplay and good […]Read more "MP for a Week – WIN"