Video Game Genres – RPG

It would be great if this section spread from party-based JRPGs through to classic chosen-one adventures, but in reality it’s mostly just Dark Souls.

Say No! More: On Social Change

I think it’s relatively passe now to say I don’t think much of Black Mirror. Even so, it’s hard to find fault with the first couple episodes. The pig episode was a bombshell entrance into the world, and the second episode, ‘Fifteen Million Merits’, has a lot to say about the way protest is co-opted […]

Paradise Killer: On Lies

Let’s dip back to Paradise Killer for a minute. We talked previously about how it works as a detective story, how it deals with truth and closure within the constraints of a video game. This week, I want to talk about how it deals with lying. Paradise Killer is a murder mystery, a game where […]

Paradise Killer: On Detectives and Knowledge

Spoiler warning: Paradise Killer is a detective game, and I am 100% going to talk about how it ends. A big part of the detective genre is this idea that we can make the world make sense. There’s a mystery, an instance of the unknown, and over the course of the story the detective figures […]

Steamworld Quest: The Psychology of Fantasy

If you ever get into studying narrative, one of the things you realise is that nobody really understands what’s going on. Stories are obviously compelling, and there are a bunch of competing theories about why that is, but there’s no master framework. We haven’t hit the kind of ground-level unshakeable assumptions that we can build […]

Dishonored: Blink and the Immigrant

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how game mechanics can communicate a game’s theme. We talked about it with Signs of the Sojourner, where the game mechanic of joining dominoes together explored the theme of communication, of building something together by finding connections between two people. I’ve also been writing a bit […]

Signs of the Sojourner

One of the interesting things about dialogue in video games is that it usually falls pretty firmly into one of two camps. You’ve got your standard cutscene dialogue, where characters give fixed lines in a set structure according to a pre-determined flow and rhythm. That’s just about every cutscene in existence, but also things like […]


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