Video Game Genres – Story

Most games have a story, but some games are better defined as stories rather than anything else. They’re visual novels, character pieces, texts focused on vignettes and dialogue. They’re the best.

Eastshade: When NPCs Read

There’s a fairly famous quest near the start of The Witcher 3 where a dwarvish blacksmith has had his forge burned down. You can track down the vandal and turn him over to the authorities, and if you do, he’s immediately executed. He’s hung from a nearby tree. It’s a grim quest that tells you […]

Eastshade: On Inspiration

Inspiration originally was one of those religious words – people don’t often know this, but it stems from the Latin spiro, meaning ‘to breathe’. That’s where we get similar words like ‘respiratory’, as in the respiratory system, and ‘spirit’. Our common words for breath and the soul derive from the same source – and historically, […]

Eastshade: Painting and Space

Eastshade is a 2019 game about being an artist, where you wander around painting shit in the woods. Like all the best games, it’s from a small indie developer who used to be in the triple-A industry and jumped ship to make his own stuff. There are so many interesting things I want to chat […]

The Hex: Genre and Loss

Boccaccio’s Decameron, written in the 14th century, follows a group of ten friends as they wait out the Black Death in a villa outside Florence. Each of the ten tells ten stories, a hundred in total, over the course of two weeks. It’s a pretty key text in literary history – the style was repeated […]

Northbound: The Building Blocks of Story

Alright. I wasn’t going to write about this, but given that I’ve been complaining about Control, and how games just seemingly can’t get their shit together with basic coherent story arcs, this week we’re going to talk about Northbound. Northbound is a 2018 itch.io game that was built by a couple students as part of […]

Wide Ocean Big Jacket: Evoke, Don’t Show

Alright, we’d better do this now, or else it’s never going to happen. Whenever I play a game and I’ve got something to say about it, I make a note in my drafts and plan to come back to it later – and then it just sits there for months on end. Other stuff comes […]

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