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:


About Quijano

Johansen Quijano is a professor of English in The University of Texas at Arlington, where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Development focusing on TESOL, and a Master’s Degree in English Literature. He has published and presented on a variety of topics including video game studies, popular culture studies, education, teaching methodology, language acquisition, romantic poetry, and victorian literature. His research interests include the above-mentioned topics, narrative, interactivity, simulation, new media in general, and 18th century literature. He also enjoys creative writing (fiction, historical fiction, and poetry), and reading all kinds of epic literary works - from the Epic Poem of Gilgamesh to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.

Posted on February 19, 2015, in Media Commentary, Video Game Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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