Category Archives: Podcasts

Ludus Novus 017: The Rules of the Game

In this podcast episode, I present and discuss my definition of the word “game.” In short, a game is an interactive simulation that provides metrics which allow a user to track progress toward a goal. Listen on to hear why Microsoft Paint is a game and why winning and losing are really the same thing.

I’d love to hear what you think! Comment if you have any opinions on the things I discuss in this episode.

Ludus Novus 016: False Narrativism: Oszustwo

as time goes by

This week’s episode is a special False Narrativism piece, discussing the obscure but visionary Polish game Oszustwo, or Incongruity. I can easily envision a world in which this game never existed, but fortunately we have access to the most technologically-advanced, creepiest, and hardest-to-play game ever developed.

Ludus Novus 015: Curse of Ludus Novus

What do we look for in digital game sequels, and why is it different than in other forms of media? Why don’t we see more sequels that give us more of the same good stuff?

References:

The music for this episode is “Darien Gap” by Josh Woodward and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

This episode’s topic suggested by Lissa.

Ludus Novus 014: From Side to Side

The classic Super Mario Bros. Let’s take a look at its influence and its gameplay.

References:

The music for this episode is “Lullaby Set” by Shira Kammen, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Ludus Novus 013: Over the Next Hill

In this podcast, I talk about exploration games. Exploration games, as I categorize them, are games with an open world that offer an array of paths at any one time. They’re awesome because they appeal to players’ curiosity and completionism, and they help deal with player frustration.

References:

The music for this episode is “Space Doggity” by Jonathan Coulton, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.

Ludus Novus 012: Genre Fiction

In this podcast, I discuss digital games genres and how I think they’re silly. They’re arbitrary niches based on a few popular games, and using them to describe games limits the way we think about making and playing games. I discuss the evolution of our genre system, from Crawford in 1984 to the modern overstuffed action adventure, and explain how Madden ’08 and Rainbow Six are in the same genre.

References:

The music for this episode is “Unforgiven” by spinmeister and featuring TheJoe & Kaer Trouz, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.

Ludus Novus 011: Written in Blood

In this podcast, I discuss the player-author contract. An interactive work sets up a trust between the player and the work’s author. This takes the form of a contract which, when violated, can cause the player to reject the work.

    The Player-Author Contract

  1. The work can be played by the player.

    • Violated by games which are unexpectedly incompatible with the player’s system.
  2. The entire work can be played by the player.

    • Violated by “game-breaking” bugs as in Battletoads and Pac-Man
  3. Through playing the work, the player can affect the progression of the work.

  4. The events in the work are governed by a set of rules.
    • Violated by some Choose Your Own Adventure games
  5. The rules of the work do not change without warning.

  6. Any player failure can be avoided by player actions.

    • Violated by really hard games.
    • Subverted by I Wanna Be The Guy and similar games and custom levels.
  7. The author provides some goal that the player can pursue.
    • Violated or subverted by Noctis.
  8. The player can evaluate progress toward a provided goal.
    • Let me know if you know a game that violates or subverts this!

Also see Without a Goal: On open and expressive games by Jesper Juul.

The music for this episode is “Broken (DURDEN version)” by DURDEN and featuring Trifonic & Amelia June, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.

Ludus Novus 010: ELIZA Is Dead

Is the illusion of player agency as good as real player agency? Isn’t a video game just a simulated game master? Is the Chinese Room a good game? If the author is dead, what about the algorithm?

The music for this episode is “The Acorns. Seedin Time in The Oak Room.” by Loveshadow, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.

References:

  • John Searle’s Chinese room
  • ELIZA

Ludus Novus 009: Extra Life

Death in games is usually a mistake. In these four indie games, it’s an intended part of the experience.

The music for this episode is “Make You Cry” by Jonathan Coulton, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license.

References:

Ludus Novus 008: State of the Art

60 years of video games. How are we doing?

The music for this episode is “Brilliant Day (fourstones.net mix)” by fourstones and DeBenedictis, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license.

References:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Casablanca
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Bambi
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Notorious

The next episode will be about four games that inspired each other in an inbred tale of exploration.