Monday, February 23, 2015

Game Stories: Sunless Sea and the Rhythm of Tension

Sunless Sea is quite a novel game. Sold with the tagline of "Lose your mind. Eat your crew.", it's a game where you explore a tranquil gothic ocean dotted with wonderfully weird islands. You need to ensure that your ship has enough fuel to sail successfully, that your crew has enough supplies so that they don't start starving, and that everyone stays calm and doesn't start freaking out because you've been zailing for days and days in the middle of the dark waters that lap at your boat again and again with a practiced dripping glassy precision...

Well. That's Sunless Sea, and it's a game that does a spectacular job of illustrating a particular sort of tension in its gaming narrative: the tension of survival.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Game Stories: Mechanical Hares

This week, the topic shifts to a negative aspect of narrative in some games. It's a concept that I'll be calling "mechanical hares", and it has to do with how your objectives in a game aren't necessarily meaningful objectives. In the interest of exploring game narratives, I'll talk about how these "mechanical hares" show up in some games, and are averted by others. Read on to find out just what that means...