Mercenaries, PMCs, and video games
Podcast this weekend

Words, words, words...

Words2_2 If there's one gaming blog that's hitting on all cylinders right now, that would be Rock, Paper, Shotgun. These four clever and prolific Brits--Jim Rossignal, Alec Meer, Kieron Gillen, and John Walker--are consistently writing some of the most useful and thought-provoking essays you'll find anywhere.

A case in point is Gillen's essay Word Play, devoted to the use of text in video games. Gillen believes modern game designers would benefit from thinking harder about the value and efficiency of words:

”It’s somewhat telling...” thinks <lead writer of Deus Ex> Sheldon Pacotti ruefully, “that we need to make an argument for language at all. I agree completely that some game developers need to be convinced even of the value of words. What I’d like to see is a growing awareness that game design itself is words.” Words exist in the superstructure of any gaming experience. Games are more than pure phenomenological reflex. “Good entertainment in any medium begins with words, which are the tools we use to organize thought,” he notes, “But most game design proceeds in a very chock-a-block fashion. In such an environment, words are just another system or feature, when what we should be striving for is a game experience that doesn’t segment easily into different components.”... “How nice it is to play a game like Civilization, in which drama, strategy, text, and game mechanics all blend together seamlessly,” Sheldon laments, “It’s like reading Erasmus or Proust. Such experiences are all too rare these days.”

After reading the full article here, I recommend subscribing to Rock, Paper, Shotgun here.