• RSS Recent Posts

    • Video Game Review: American McGee’s Alice
      After the recent release of “Alice: Madness Returns,” I  picked up a copy. With each copy, console gamers also got a free download of  the original “American McGee’s Alice.” Before playing the new Alice, I had to  go back and beat the original again. While many things were just as I had  remembered, I’m glad […]
    • Video Game Rant: Donkey Kong Country Returns
      One of my favorite games of all time is Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2. When I heard they were making a new one, I was super excited, but also somewhat skeptical. So a few months ago, I picked up a copy of Donkey Kong Country Returns to try out the new game. My fiancee also joined […]
    • Scott Pilgrim Versus the World: Movie Review
       (Warning: some spoilers) When they decided to turn this Canadian comic into a movie, I’m not sure they were aware of what a cult smash hit this would be. Topping the charts for Blu-rays on the first day it was released on home video, it’s also been on several top ten lists. It appeals to […]
    • Good Kitty: WoW Feral Cat DPS Rotation
      ***Note: this information is from before Cataclysm. There have been major changes to the class. See my sources below for more updated information.*** When I rolled Druid on the first character I legitimately got to level 80, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I leveled Feral Cat, and when I hit 80, I realized […]
    • Finding a Job
      This is a digression from my usual topics, but I wanted to share some of my strategies with other unemployed or soon to be unemployed people out there. My job search has been the focus of my free time lately, so I figured it would be the perfect topic for my next post. 1)      Assess […]
  • Archives

Can Video Games Tell Stories? Excerpts from my Senior Study


As video games have grown up from arcade shooters and text based adventure games to Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) and motion-detecting games of all genres, so too has the field of discussion on the subject. Writers world wide are theorizing on what games do, how they do it, and what they should be doing.

Academia is beginning to develop a sizable body of opinions on video games, moving far beyond simply addressing the violence associated with playing games. The big scholarly issue many people are addressing is whether or not games can tell stories, and if they do then what kind of narrative it is, or in what way is it told, a complex discussion situated amongst conflicting sources and academics.

So why study video games? Are they even worthy of academic thought? Do they produce anything meaningful? These are questions that have been debated since the birth of video games as an innovative mode of entertainment. Yet when watching someone play a game, it is obvious that the player is not simply seeing units in a program.

Games are not simply a form of entertainment either. Games are a mode of interaction, of expressing something about ourselves, both for the player, designer, and onlooker. They shape how we see the world by looking at how others see it.

Reading a book can make you laugh, cry, and forget it’s only a story. Watching a movie and playing a game can produce the same reactions, a game arguably even more so because of the high level of audience participation. Playing a game can make you think ‘Oh, I never thought of it that way.’ Playing a game lets people literally get into a story and even help tell it. Finally, digital technologies represent a growing medium for storytelling, and they may be the future of narratives.

New Game


It takes some confidence to come public with a blog. I found a little electric courage, if you will. In general, the more I know about a topic, the more confident I feel about it. Studying abroad, for example. The amount of research I did drove my friends crazy; it was an almost compulsive thing, to cram as much knowledge into my tiny American brain as I could before I left. But I did it so I knew what I was flying into when I landed in Japan, and so I felt like I could handle what was coming.

On the other hand, before my gum surgery, the more I read about it online, the more I freaked myself out about it. Part of that was the sheer volume of horror stories available, as opposed to the amount of useful, more balanced info (thanks, interwebs). In both cases, actually gritting my teeth (so to speak) and taking the plunge was the biggest step, but it was one I couldn’t have taken without feeling a little weight of virtual experience under my belt.

That’s why I decided not to wait anymore to start writing. The more I blog, the more I’ll gain experience, and the more confident I’ll feel. I’ve done my research enough to feel like I can figure out the rest from here. To put it in video game terms (this is the first of many times), I’ll be leveling up my communications and writing skills, which I suppose falls under the Charisma and Intelligence categories.

So here’s to my online debut under my real name and not any stage name (the internet is a kind of play, after all, both the kind with actors and the kind with avatars).