File this under ‘ Unexpected things you find on the internet on a Sunday morning’ – via Twitter retweets, I’ve discovered that the New Statesman’s website has a fine Gaming blog written by Helen Lewis Hasteley.
This is a thought-inducing piece on bad writing in games and how failings in this crucial area can cripple the experience – you can, after all, fight through crappy mechanics and overlook an aesthetic choice which is irritating or not to your taste.
If a game forces you to make illogical choices which irritate so much as to cognitively eject you from the game world’s construct, that’s something of an issue – a game breaker as opposed to a deal breaker. Overly linear directives yelled by NPCs which so telegraph the preferred ‘choice’ of the game designer, unintuitive dialogue trees which don’t allow for ,moderate narrative digression – oh, the stuff that can break the illusory spell of a game.
I don’t mind linearity and the careful hand of a guided experience – I bloody loved “Enslaved” last Autumn, and with the best will in the world, that game had a bunch of issues which I was prepared to overlook because the macro, overaching result was a joy to behold.
Linearity, after all, is what we’re stuck with in this gen and beyond – there’s not much sign of a Singularity yet, and no AI equivalent of Miyamoto or Molyneux to guide our gaming experiences.
Digression – you know it.