Gamasutra’s Top 20 Game Writers

4 03 2009

On February 20th Gamastura posted a list of gaming’s Top 20 Writers in recent times. The article was well received and six days later Gamasutra posted the audience response.

First of all, this is a huge and notable step forward. The writing niche in games isn’t nearly as big as others, such as programming and design, despite its important. I am not, however, trying to preach that story is the most important thing in a game. I think, in fact, it is not. If applied incorrectly, it can even hinder the game’s flow. Developing games is about creating and experience, not about summing up different parts and hoping they’ll form a nice result. If the story isn’t contextual to the interactive experience, it beats the point. If, however, it relates to the gameplay offered and enhances its potential, then its purpose has been fulfilled.

Storytelling is essential to the experience, but that also involves knowing when to stand down. Make your stand at the appropriate moment and context, however, and you’ll follow the example of games that wouldn’t have ever achieved the cult status they have today, were it not for their narrative. Yes, games such as Portal, Grand Theft Auto IV, God of War, Braid, and Call of Duty 4 wouldn’t have become so popular if they didn’t reveal GLaDOS’ instability, Niko’s immigration, Kratos’ wrath, time’s poetry, and the horrors of modern war, respectively.

Therefore, I’d like to pay my respects to all the writers mentioned, as well as those who weren’t. Industry notables or not, the act of writing and telling stories is most likely a passion that drives us and to be able to live and attain success through it is the dream of many. A lot of motivation in one’s career comes through the advice and knowledge shared by the experts. In that sense, I am thankful and encourage more comments through writing peers and professionals like Susan O’Connor, Drew Karpyshyn, Tom Abernathy, Andrew Walsh and Rhianna Pratchett among others who participated.

Do yourself a favor and check out the Original Feature and the Audience Response.

What I’ve written is is merely a foreword. If, at all.

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A Different Diagnosis

27 09 2008

The cardiologist came into the room with an exam in his hands.

He grinned, laughed in a comforting manner, and said it was normal. Said there was nothing wrong with my heart.

“Bitch Dependency” he called it:

A bleeding scar created after having that silk-smooth red carpet pulled from under your feet and hitting your face smack on the floor.

The biggest problem isn’t getting hurt, – the doctor went on – it’s being unprepared. Feeling the carpet shake a bit doesn’t give you enough time to foretell what’s to come. Not being able to do so leaves you in doubt and completely vulnerable.

Next thing you know you’re patching your forehead from the fall with one hand and trying to clutch your slippery pulsating heart with the other. Let me tell you: It pains. Making you wish it had never happened.

There isn’t really any cure for it and preventing it can be quite hard. Like a flu, it has to be transmitted by other people, usually those close to you, usually those that have the power to somehow affect your feelings and state of mind.

Women portrayed as “significant others” have commonly been identified as the cause of this pathology, but it has been reported to affect both sexes. When men are the cause though, the name remains unchanged. Be it because you’re dependent on a bitch or because you’re the bitch for being dependent.

There’s not much I can do except prescribe you this bottle of time. All you have to do is swallow it with a glass of truth and wait. It should taste like shit, but it works. What you do though, once you leave this office, is none of my business. I’ve seen patients drinking, some frantically searching for someone else to occupy the void, while others develop a tendency towards sharp razors and lofty skyscrapers.

Time is a treatment, not a cure. Be warned that side effects are involved and it helps to not poke the wound. Scars can’t form unless you leave them be and the more you play with them, the more they bleed and hurt. On the other hand, though, I know, touching the wound is not masochism, but rather a way to feel human.

It’s a process. In the beginning you were fearful of treading that imaginary red carpet of yours. Carefully, though, you stepped forward. Little by little you started walking down the path. Being surprised in such unexpected manner can stun anyone, but now you need to apply the reverse effect. Get up and start walking back. Some say, the quicker the better, but honestly, there’s no point in rushing it.

As for the side effects I mentioned, they vary. Thoughtful depression, extreme rage, and psychotic humor are just some I can think of. None of them feel as something you normally would, so you know it’s part of the treatment.

The problem is some people are affected by these side effects and end up hurting other people. It’s as if you were to become just as rotten as the person who made you come here in the first place. Heed my words, this isn’t healthy. Struggle to become someone better, not as rotten as whoever scarred you. The world definitely could use people who didn’t hold grudges and hatred in their torn hearts.

If you do choose to go against my advice, I won’t stop you. You won’t be the only one to do this and frankly, whoever you hurt becomes my next patient. Unethical to some extent, but it does pay the bills. Keeps the business running.

“The Scar Cycle” he called it.

Now please sign this waiver. Once you cross that door, what you do is none of my concern. Follow my instructions and you’ll do fine, otherwise, good luck.

The appointment was over.

“Next!” his voice echoed.








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