Aristotle was not a Game Designer

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2 Responses

  1. Wolfgang Walk says:

    “So, let’s start from the premise that all that Aristotle stuff applies to us. Agreed?”

    No.
    Spector’s basic observation is correct: Most games tell act 1 during the intro/tutorial and act 3 during the extro. But Aristotle’s structure inclined that the three acts are more or less of the same length – otherwise it wouldn’t make any sense in a theatre environment. And that’s the first thing games cannot adhere to.
    Obstacles in games serve an inherantly different purpose and have a different value than they have in a story. Obstacles pretty much construct the game and are the player’s main reason to play in the first place – where they are but metaphors for inner conflicts in a story.

    As long as we do not understand this – and the role it plays for storytelling in a game – we will not see any progress. The dramatic structure of Aristotle (or the monomyth or whatever) stems from the human psychology of experiencing UNWANTED challenges.

    And that’s not what a game is.

  2. The DNA of the entire TV series is intrinsic in every season, every pod of episodes and every episode and the same could apply to games. Stories are a three dimensional energetic molecule of plot, character/relationship and theme (inner learning) and any diagram, formula or “recipe” that only relates to the horizontal plot is superficial. The audience/participant become viscerally engaged by the plot action, emotionally engaged through the relationships, and learns the inner meaning by experiencing what Joseph Campbell calls being on “a path of growth through crisis.”

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