No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #53

Hello, everyone. After my rant about game complexity last week, it occurred to me that someone who's been reading this blog from the start might deem me hypocritical, seeing how I once praised the manual for Master of Orion. Then again, I learned to play the game by having a friend show me the basics for a few minutes; the manual only helped clarified a few things. Same with Civilization, or the early SimCities. So you see, it's not about games being hard. (I never came close to winning MoO, before or after reading the manual.) It's about games being too complicated to friggin' play, let alone have fun with, unless you're willing to put in countless hours.

And now, on to game development news.

Don't be fooled by the title. Over on Gamasutra, Writing Interactive Fiction in Six Steps is really about any kind of game stories. Think computer RPGs, which by their very nature will always contain a lot of dialogue at the very least. And the good old issue of combinatorial explosion means any advice can be potentially useful.

In the same vein, Emily Short's recent write-up about Games of Co-Authorship isn't about text-based games. In fact, many of these games that let the player piece together their own story turn out to be graphical in nature. Moreover, many of them don't exactly offer much of a choice, but rather ask you to discover the one right story. Which pretty much makes them the equivalent of classics such as Myst, The Dreamhold or Gone Home -- a type of interactive narrative that for some reason seems to work a lot better than others, and is nothing new in any event. And when it comes to telling the player's story instead of the game's, that's essentially what simulations do. Dwarf Fortress, anyone? Yet Another Stupid Death?

Still in the way of interactive narratives, someone was crazy enough to implement a choice-based game on Twitter. And in completely unrelated news, I just found out about the discussion surrounding homelessness in SimCity. Seeing how much this issue polarizes opinions in real life, and how attached people get to their virtual cities, I guess it's not in the least surprising. But can the game in any way inform the aforementioned real life debate? Because that would be something.