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Showing posts from September, 2015

Framing Devices in Videogames

Let's talk about framing devices in videogames.
Ever since the first Assassin's Creed I've been in love with them. When done well they can ameliorate ludonarrative dissonance by couching the contrivances and tropes of video game mechanics in a frame that is already understood as being an artificial construct. Hopefully a few clear examples will make that sentence less gobbledygookish.
In Assassin's Creed, you primarily play a character in the middle east from a thousand years ago. But because it's a videogame there are things that you can and can't do that a real person from a thousand years ago in the middle east would not have to deal with. For instance, you can't walk off into the sunset. At some point there's a wall that will always stop you, because we don't have the technology to build an entire planet simulation yet. (No Man's Sky and Spore are great baby steps, but the detail is so crude that I don't count them) As designers we have a…