Category Archives: Podcasts

Ludus Novus 020: Acceptable Losses

In this episode of the Ludus Novus podcast, I discuss the basic minion summoning and equipment mechanics of Overlord, and how they both encourage tactical gameplay and maintain the characterization of the player character.

The music for this episode is from “medieval evil” by Baal Anamelech and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 license.

Ludus Novus 019: False Narrativism: Awesome Zone

This podcast episode is about an unreleased game from 1990 that a guy showed me at GDC. It’s called Awesome Zone, and it was created by developer Theodore Alby for a company called KnowSoft over the course of a six-week nervous breakdown.

The music for this episode is from “Three Goes On Forever” by Time Slips By, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike License as part of the compilation Ctrl-N.

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.