Category Archives: Podcasts

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.

Ludus Novus 007: Who Am I?

Amnesia. Can anyone remember why it’s so common in interactive entertainment?

The music for this episode is “Forgettin My Identity” by Jane His Wife, and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license.

References:

The next episode will be about the progress and state of the art of the video game industry, as compared to another form of entertainment.

Ludus Novus 006: False Narrativism: Walking Away

The game Walking Away: In what ways does it succeed at what it attempts?

The music for this episode is “Criminal” by Peter Toh, used with permission.

References:

The next episode will be about amnesia, the video game trope we all love to hate. If you have comments or anecdotes about amnesia, please leave a comment here or at
gregory@ludusnovus.net
.

Note: If you would like to sign up for GameTap and indicate to them that you are doing so because of Uru Live, you can use this link and click on “join now”. For a limited time, you can get a year’s worth of GameTap (including Uru Live, when it comes out) for $60, which is about 50% off of the monthly price.

Ludus Novus 005: Level Cap

Length of works: is a given game most like a short story or a novel, and how can length affect content?

References:

The next episode will be a new segment called False Narrativism.

Ludus Novus 004: Hurt Me Plenty

Difficulty and completeness: Why do games have to be hard, and how is finishing a game separate from completing it?

The music for this episode is “Big Bad World One” by Jonathan Coulton, and is available under a cc by-nc-sa 2.5 license.

This episode, unlike most, is available under a cc by-nc-sa 2.5 license.

References:

The next episode will be about the length of games and how that relates to game classification. Is there a distinction between an interactive “short story” and an interactive “novel”? If you have comments or ideas, contact me at gregory@ludusnovus.net.

Ludus Novus 003: Not the Same Thing After All

Variable player experience: What do we mean by interaction, and how can two players have different experiences with the same work?

The music for this episode is Enrique Granados’s “Spanish Dance n. 2” performed by Mario Mattioli, and is available under a cc by-nc 2.5 license.

This is the first episode in which I’ve talked much about table-top roleplaying games.

References:

(Note: I’m going to start putting the titles of IF pieces from the IF Comp in quotes, as that competition is intended for short works, so participants presumably intended their pieces to be analogous to short stories.)

Ludus Novus 002: Telling It Like It Is

The unreliable narrator: how do you use this technique when the narrator is usually the player character?

The music for this episode is “Noite de Carnaval” by Code, and is available under a cc by-nc 2.5 license.

References:

I will be out of town for a week, so the next full episode should appear on August 19, 2006. There may be something put up between now and then, though.