Narratology vs Ludology in Video Games Essay Sample

9 September 2017

When people talk about picture games. they frequently talk about the same things: gameplay. artworks. length. trouble and on-line capablenesss. how good will it sell. and who will purchase it. But how frequently do we speak about the game’s narrative? How frequently do we discourse the effectivity and intent of its narrative?

Not all games tell narratives. though. Some early games such as Tetris may be abstract. expressive. and experimental. entirely focused on gameplay with no narrative to construct upon. Some narratologists have tried to happen the narrative in such games. naming Tetris β€œA perfect passage of the over tasked lives of Americans in the 1990s – of the changeless barrage of undertakings that demand our attending and that we must somehow fit into our overcrowded agendas and unclutter off our desks in order to do room for the following onslaught. ” ( Murray. 1997 ) . Although it can do sense. this could non hold been what the game interior decorators were believing when making Tetris.

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They most likely took an wholly ludological attack and merely designed the game with gameplay in head. This was acceptable in the early yearss of computing machine games. since non much was expected from the then-unexplored universe of computing machine games.

Nowadays. to fulfill the increasing demand of participants. non-indie game developers can non afford to look past narrative even when planing the simplest of games. The old manner of developing games – making the gameplay foremost and so adding some kind of an over the top plot line – is vanishing and a new. narrative-centered development manner is taking over. Game interior decorators don’t merely state narratives any longer ; they design populating universes and sculpt expansive infinites to suit for character and narrative development. Narrative has become the chief merchandising point in the bulk of current AAA picture games.

On the other manus. indie developers approach this otherwise. Invention and creativeness are much more valued among independent game developers in order to be noticed and pushed into the limelight. This manner of thought has spawned many imaginative and critically acclaimed games such as the mystifier platformer Braid which skips the 3rd dimension and straight connects a second universe with temporal motion. This kind of invention creates great force per unit area on the mainstream game development companies to bring forth more sophisticated games in order to remain competitory.

I believe neither narratology or ludology can solidly stand on their ain in the modern twenty-four hours of game development. A narrative-driven game might non supply adequate challenge. yet an wholly ludology-based game would miss substance and would non be every bit attractive to participants. Great attention must be taken to equilibrate these two contrasting yet complementary Fieldss.


Murray. J. ( 1997 ) Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. Cambridge: MIT Press

Gonzalo Frasca. ( 1999 ) . Ludology meets Narratology: Similitude and differences between ( picture ) games and narrative. Available: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. ludology. org/articles/ludology. htm. Last accessed 20th Mar 2012.

Patrick Holleman. ( 2011 ) . Narrative in Videogames. Available: hypertext transfer protocol: //thegamedesignforum. com/features/narrative_in_games. hypertext markup language. Last accessed 21th Mar 2012.

Gonzalo Frasca. ( 2003 ) . Simulation versus Narrative: Introduction to Ludology. The Video Game Theory Reader. 1 ( 1 ) . p124-137.

Eric Zimmerman. ( 2004 ) . Narrative. Interactivity. Play. and Games. Available: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. electronicbookreview. com/thread/firstperson/ludican-do. Last accessed 28th May 2012.

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