The Most Important Twitter Conversation Ever (for Gamers)

7 09 2009

(Update: Sigh. I should have known that a post with a picture of Catherine Bell would be incredibly highly trafficked. If you’re at all interested in videogames and game design, why not click on the essay HERE and take a look around. There might be some fun stuff!)

I just discovered this July 16th post on the personal blog of Soren Johnson, the designer of Civilization IV and one of my personal gaming gods. I know, shame on me for not checking his blog in a while because what Soren has is always worth reading. Still, if you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s the transcript of an amazing Twitter conversation had by some of the leading lights in game design about a talk given by Denis Dyack at the Develop 2009 conference.

In the conference, Dyack said the following (Quoting from the Gamasutra story about the conference):

“Gameplay is not everything,” said Silicon Knights (Eternal Darkness) founder and president Denis Dyack. “If you look at the most popular games today, they are far more narrative-focused.”

“If games are to follow the trajectory of films, then the dominance of gameplay will diminish in place of an increased focus and importance on gaming’s stories and the ways in which they are told,” he added.

This apparently triggered a Tweet from Johnson to Dyack in which he asked:

SorenJohnson: Hey Denis, if you put the narrative in front of the gameplay, you are no longer making a game. You’re making a movie. http://bit.ly/193Qdz

This is what led to the conversation about the boundaries and importance of narrative and gameplay (the whole conversation is collected here) It’s a little confusing with a lot of crosstalk (This was a real time Twitter conversation after all) but it’s well worth reading through.

It’s also the subject of this week’s Angry Bear column. I may be a bit late to the conversation, but that doesn’t meant I can’t put my two cents in. This is the Internet after all. I’ll post and update when the new column is done.

(Yeah, I’m late. We spent the day at our friend’s house for a Labor Day BBQ. In penance, may I offer this awesome picture of the lovely Catherine Bell in a bikini.)

catherine_bell_7

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One response

7 09 2009
Roy Lofquist

I guess you could say I’ve been gaming for a while. Played my first computer game in 1967. I’ll go for the movie every time.

I don’t care for action games – rather play golf or hockey than mash buttons. I rarely finish the RPGs. They’re too easy to figure out. My usual approach is to spend a couple of hours at the beginning to scope out what’s behind the screen. Way too many of them let you build a G-d toon and the rest is pretty uninteresting.

There are some real jewels out there – Final Fantasy 7’s. Unfortunately they are few and far between.

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