Adam Lederer's Game Design Thoughts

always more questions than answers

Listen to a Story While You Play! (Bastion)

That’s a dig at Bastion‘s story-telling, yes, but more like a jealous back-handed complement.  It works well.  It works so well.  I’m not a writer by trade, so I feel I’m at liberty to express myself here by means of “OMFG“.

I honestly wonder what the experience of Bastion would be like on mute.  For those not in the know, one of the things that sets Bastion apart is its use of an ever-present narrator.  What initially seems like a gag (albeit an excellent one) turns into a remarkably deep voice (literally and figuratively) that serves to characterize what otherwise could be considered fairly repetitive environments and encounters.  And by characterize, I mean I’m holding back tears here, man, please, I’m trying to fight a bunch of blue guys.

So we’ve established that it works (I know it doesn’t work for everyone, so if you disagree, please comment as to why!)

But is it cheating?

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Dark Souls (“Austerity Measures”)

In the past month I’ve spent the most time playing Arkham City and Dark Souls.

Arkham City is a zealously polished game with clever combat, detailed environments, meticulously-tested encounters and difficulty curve, damn fine writing/narrative engagement, and is a big ball of glistening visceral joy.  Dark Souls in comparison is so much less explicitly/deliberately engaging on a moment-to-moment basis, is unfriendly to the player (downright nasty, really), and has a much lighter and more awkward touch with story.

Why does Dark Souls captivate me so much more?  Why does it worm its way into the emotional vine of my mind grapes, flooding me with what could be called nostalgia or yearning,  when I’m away from it?

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Why is there a blog here, instead of nothing?

Mysterious! I’ve already thought of several explanations.

  • Magic.  I find this the most likely.
  • Sometimes I think thoughts.  And when I do, I like to share them with others, or at the very least remember them for myself.
  • Why would there not be a blog here?  Look at you, pretending to be the sole arbiter of blog existence and perception, with your fancy robes and flowing locks… et cetera.
  • When a man and a woman love each other very much…