Spoony Bard is a biweekly column by James Bishop that looks at narrative within video games, celebrating the stories that make games special, but also scribbling red marks across the scripts that need a revision. This column is a direct follow-up to the last one, which you can find here. NB: Some minor spoilers for . . . → Read More: Spoony Bard 10: How Games Tend to End
An important goal of any design is to engage the consumer in the product. With a wealth of inspiration in other mediums, most notably film and literature, it’s unsurprising that a games design model based on how other entertainment forms engage their audiences has become commonplace.
This typically leads to the inclusion of plot . . . → Read More: Spoony Bard 9: Design Flaws of the Endgame
Even the supposedly recession-proof entertainment industry has been forced by fiscal crunching into some fundamental shifts from progressive game design. But that hasn’t stopped some risky ventures from sneaking into the spotlight.
Unfortunately, two of the most spotlighted of this year’s original IPs are marked by muddled game design and narrative. Though both certainly . . . → Read More: Spoony Bard 8: Critical and Commercial Contradictions
Boss fights rank among the most unforgettable moments in video games. Ask any gamer and they will vividly recall Liquid Snake’s seeming inability to die in Metal Gear Solid, or besting Ganon with the silver arrow in The Legend of Zelda.
It’s easy to see why these climatic battles engender such nostalgia. Boss fights . . . → Read More: The Anatomy of a Great Boss Fight
We’ve all seen them. In nearly any game you play there will be a progress bar of some sort. Its implementation is varied, ranging from how how tech-savvy you are in Arcanum to faction support in World of Warcraft. Typically and especially lately, they have been used in conjunction with morality.
While the impact . . . → Read More: Spoony Bard 7: The Problem with Progress Bars
Dialogue is hard, just ask any game writer. When it comes down to character interaction, the fine line between natural and contrived is one that many loathe to even approach. Descriptive writing is far simpler as it involves only the natural tendencies, cadences and thought processes of a singular being.
That’s why banter that is . . . → Read More: Spoony Bard 6: Dragon Age’s Better Banter