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I like stories, and I like games, however I’m not sure I really need my games to tell a story or even have an apparent theme.  There are plenty of successful games that rely heavily on story and for which the story provides a lot of juice.  Conversely there are a lot of games that have no apparent story, I say apparent because the designer may have had a story or perhaps a theme in mind when they made the game, but if they did they weren’t explicit about it, and the normal gamer would have no clue as to what the inspiration for the game might be, but are nevertheless still addictive, engaging, meaningful and…. wait for it… fun!  So as far as I’m concerned a story is optional.   If you are novelist or an essayist or a writer of some ilk, and you can pull it off, great! create a narrative, or a theme or whatever for your game!  Or perhaps if you are not a writer then grab a theme from somewhere in the cultural matrix, I don’t know, how about how fractional reserve lending is really theft, or how war is really a racket, or maybe democide, or maybe how married couples can base their entire married lives on a matrix of petty deceptions, or perhaps how a population can come to love their own enslavement or how patents are really destructive to the free market or anchor babies or _?  And maybe if you are lucky, this theme is so dense with meaning that it can provide a rich seedbed of creative plenitude, and is rife with affordances, so rife that you merely have to extend your metaphorical hand and pluck brilliant mechanics at will, and your successful game is pretty much in the bag, or maybe not….  Maybe your brilliant narrative or theme will afford a number of readily available mechanics and maybe you skillfully weave them into your game and maybe you release your game and then… nobody thinks its worth spending money on, or nobody thinks its cool, or nobody thinks its topical, or nobody thinks it has resonance, or nobody thinks it has a voice, and your game is a flop.  Or perhaps you could invent the next angry birds and make scads of dough, I don’t know, it could happen.


  1. I’d like to read your OPAs for ethics.

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