Saucers of Mud

December 22, 2009

Interactive Fiction Explained

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 8:03 am

From a fascinating article in the Economist about the complexity of different languages:

Lera Boroditsky of Stanford University, for example, points to the Kuuk Thaayorre, aboriginals of northern Australia who have no words for “left” or “right”, using instead absolute directions such as “north” and “south-east” (as in “You have an ant on your south-west leg”). Ms Boroditsky says that any Kuuk Thaayorre child knows which way is south-east at any given time, whereas a roomful of Stanford professors, if asked to point south-east quickly, do little better than chance. The standard Kuuk Thayoorre greeting is “where are you going?”, with an answer being something like “north-north-east, in the middle distance.” Not knowing which direction is which, Ms Boroditsky notes, a Westerner could not get past “hello”.

From now on, all IF protagonists are Kuuk Thaayorre.


December 7, 2009

Moral Choices in Games

Filed under: Uncategorized — matt w @ 1:54 am

An interesting discussion at Emily Short’s about moral choices in games, first between Emily and Victor Gijsbers and someone posting as “fabulous,” and then between me and Ron Newcomb. Here’s a good bit from Ron:

Maybe it’s a squid-on-the-mantlepiece problem? Just as the author can’t dramatize dad’s overdrawn bank account while a giant kraken is attacking the city, the I-F author can’t create player-NPC emotional bonds while there are keys to find in other people’s houses. The traditional gameplay stuff is “too loud”, and overwhelms an NPC’s mild disappointment in the PC’s conduct.

While looking up things for this discussion, I noticed that there are a lot of tropes that are relevant to this. And I haven’t played hardly any of those games.

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