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Subject: off topic -- new article on narrative in (video) games rss

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Byron Campbell
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Sorry for the off topic post. A few years back, before I got into board games, I wrote an article on 3 levels of narrative in games (video games, naturally). An alumnus of my school picked up the article and started teaching it, and through that connection, I became a contributing editor for the literary+ online magazine/community she edits, Entropy. I occasionally write about board games there in my Session Report series, and I've recruited a few other people to write about the hobby.

After the website that originally published my article went down, Entropy's editor asked me if I wanted to republish it on Entropy. I said I did, but I wanted to take the chance to revise it first. With my current schedule, this turned into a weeks-long process and the article (already lengthy) grew to over 5000 words. It went live yesterday.

I'd like to share this with as many people as possible. I know it barely touches on board games, but if you are interested in games, storytelling and some theoretical ramblings, please read and share.

Thanks!

-kittenhoarder

http://entropymag.org/potentialemergencyminecraft/

P.S: My next writeup for Entropy will be a review of Zimby Mojo, and I am also planning on doing a writeup of my Top 20 Solo Games for the 1 Player guild People's Choice awards. If you are into RPGs, check out the Dungeons Mastered series by Tyler Crumrine, which will have its second post in the coming week.
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Geeky McGeekface
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Calling all Spielfrieks! It's time to vote for the Meeples Choice Awards at the Yahoo User Group!
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Thank you for the link, Byron. And I'd like to share this with you: DIBS!

(Mmmm...soul and a kitten--two bits!)
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shumyum
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Cool article.

My son is fifteen, and although I'm probably missing something, is seems to me the only true evidence of a generation gap is his love of watching videos of other people playing video games.

Music, fashion, politics, movies, *played* video games, etc. We might not agree with each other but at least I can understand why he might have a particular taste. None of the seem like a waste of time. Watching video game videos? I just don't get it (and I played a lot of video games growing up and I still play some). Your article maybe brings me a bit closer to understanding (although I realize that isn't you main point).
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David Jones
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shumyum wrote:
Watching video game videos? I just don't get it.


How is it any different than watching sports?
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shumyum
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davypi wrote:
shumyum wrote:
Watching video game videos? I just don't get it.


How is it any different than watching sports?


Note that I completely see this as a gap...it's not like I judge my son harshly (beyond shaking me head) or certainly disallow him from watching it. I just don't get it.

Anyway, you bring up a good point. I do watch some sports (though I'm not a superfan in any way) and I like the personalities, prowess, tension and the strategy so I think you're right that I should think of video game videos (especially live ones) the same way.

But most of what my son watches video game videos for are the humor (nominally storytelling) value as is laid out in the OP's essay.
 
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Robert Wesley
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Where within Video Game GEEK did they have a 'place' similar with OURS here? Yeah, 'moi' wouldn't KNOW upon such, since; "make-up a reason". shake
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Xander Fulton
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shumyum wrote:
davypi wrote:
shumyum wrote:
Watching video game videos? I just don't get it.


How is it any different than watching sports?


Note that I completely see this as a gap...it's not like I judge my son harshly (beyond shaking me head) or certainly disallow him from watching it. I just don't get it.

Anyway, you bring up a good point. I do watch some sports (though I'm not a superfan in any way) and I like the personalities, prowess, tension and the strategy so I think you're right that I should think of video game videos (especially live ones) the same way.

But most of what my son watches video game videos for are the humor (nominally storytelling) value as is laid out in the OP's essay.


There is certainly some element of that - another factor is that video game creators have been including more and more content for higher-level players that "us casual folks" will never get to see, as we just aren't able/willing to put that much time in PLAYING a game. Either to 'get good enough' or to grind the hours in needed to get at that high-level content.

But the video game streamers do get there. So if you want to see, at all, parts of these games/stories/etc...catching a stream of someone else playing that is basically the only way to see that part of the experience.

(And if they are a decent streamer, they'll also bring their own humor/narrative to the game, which can make it more interesting, too)

Really not something I've done much of, but it isn't quite as silly as it sounds on first blush.
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Byron Campbell
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XanderF wrote:
shumyum wrote:
davypi wrote:
shumyum wrote:
Watching video game videos? I just don't get it.


How is it any different than watching sports?


Note that I completely see this as a gap...it's not like I judge my son harshly (beyond shaking me head) or certainly disallow him from watching it. I just don't get it.

Anyway, you bring up a good point. I do watch some sports (though I'm not a superfan in any way) and I like the personalities, prowess, tension and the strategy so I think you're right that I should think of video game videos (especially live ones) the same way.

But most of what my son watches video game videos for are the humor (nominally storytelling) value as is laid out in the OP's essay.


There is certainly some element of that - another factor is that video game creators have been including more and more content for higher-level players that "us casual folks" will never get to see, as we just aren't able/willing to put that much time in PLAYING a game. Either to 'get good enough' or to grind the hours in needed to get at that high-level content.

But the video game streamers do get there. So if you want to see, at all, parts of these games/stories/etc...catching a stream of someone else playing that is basically the only way to see that part of the experience.

(And if they are a decent streamer, they'll also bring their own humor/narrative to the game, which can make it more interesting, too)

Really not something I've done much of, but it isn't quite as silly as it sounds on first blush.


I think these are all good reasons. There's the thing known as e-sports, which to me is a completely different proposition: high-stakes competitive games played at a mastery level, similar to watching a poker or Magic tournament. There's the exclusive content issue, which I haven't encountered a lot of but I can see the argument for. Related to that, there's an aspirational element: you might watch a video for a game or expansion content you can't afford or your parents think you can't have. I work at a tutoring center, and it would amaze you how many 3rd-graders know every easter egg, strategy and bit of lore of Five Nights at Freddy's despite having never played it themselves.

Finally, there's the fact that game makers (both game designers and hardware publishers) are actively making games that are meant to be shared socially. Because of its built-in streaming capabilities, the PlayStation 4 catalog is full of games with more "shareable" features like procedurally generated environments (BloodBorne, No Man's Sky) or a more sandboxy/open world approach than previous games in the same series (Uncharted 4, Metal Gear Solid V).
 
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