Ludology, Narrativity, and Ludonarrative Dissonance [video responses to Errant Signal]

Not too long ago, Errant Signal put out a video where he echoed Gonzalo Frasca’s comments regarding the ludology vs narrativity debate. Quoting Frasca, Errant Signal suggests that said debate, whose opening skirmishes are chronicled in Game Studies, “did not happen” because there was no “debate” as to whether games “should be narrative or ludic”. And that’s true. At no point was there a formal moderated debate where game devs argued whether games should be about stories or about play. But there was, and there still is, a very real conversation regarding whether video games are best understood as stories or as games. You can find my full rebuttal below:

In his same video, Errant Signal agreed with Jim Sterling and suggested that the term Ludonarrative Dissonance is useless and should be discarded because it predisposes the critic to make negative assessments about the game. Again, I disagree. Ludonarrative dissonance is a useful term, as long as it is considered as existing within a framework. My full argument below:

A Short Rant on The Cost of Games

When I was younger and I relied on the kindness of my family during holiday celebrations and my birthdays, I recognized the monetary value of video games. I knew that games were 30$ – 50$. During those days my collection was fairly small, and each game was like currency unto itself. My NES collection was composed of only twelve games: The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, Journey to Silius, Shatterhands, Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja Crusaders, Bubble Bobble, Castlevania II: What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse, Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Gaiden III, Snake’s Revenge, and – of course – Super Mario Bros. 3. My friends had other titles in collections equally as small, and we would trade games all the time. Of course, some games had more value than others. I remember that I really wanted Megaman 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, both of which my best friend at the time had, but in exchange he wanted the two Zelda games These were the golden cartridge Zeldas, and it made them special. The Zelda games were the crown of any kid’s collection, and were completely off the table as far as trading was concerned. In the end, I saved up my lunch money for a month – two dollars per day – and bought the games from the corner video store at two for 50$; a bargain at the time.

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In Defense of Michael Bay

f0aa9b9404ef9d5599aaa92d6504fddc.750x574x1The good people over at Movie Finatic have written a piece where they explain that Michael Bay, who for some reason gets no credit for his involvement with the excellent Armageddon and Pearl Harbor movies but is famous for the recent Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film adaptations, is considering taking on Thundercats. The piece, titled “Michael Bay wants to continue ruining your childhood! He’s on to the Thundercats!” paints the director’s work in a not too flattering light, stating that “fans of the animated show are not happy about this, with many expressing disdain for Michael Bay. It is a huge “blunder” for fans of the cartoons, saying that they don’t want anymore “80’s or 90s childhood series” to be directed by Bay, especially ThunderCats.” But here’s the thing – Michael Bay didn’t “ruin” anyone’s childhood.

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Gaming Predictions for 2015

2015-390x221It’s time to make some gaming predictions for the upcoming year of 2015 based on the current trends in the industry as I see them and on wishful thinking! Last year I tried to give specific dates, and most of my predictions were accurate, but off by a few months. This time around I’ll just make general predictions. So here we go:

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