August 2013 – ‘What’s the Story?’

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

Sorry this month’s Blogs of the Round Table is running a little late. Don’t worry though, I was pardoned by the official @critdistance Twitter account – and it wasn’t even me tweeting from it this time. The accidental Shenmue jokes are always me, though.

This lateness was useful, because it got me thinking: the one month deadline is a little… arbitrary, don’t you think? We get a rush of submissions for BoRT at the end of every month, and a couple of people will always say “I didn’t get time!”. So let’s make more time to produce some really great blogs, rather than cutting off the discussion: this month’s Blogs of the Round Table will run from now until the end of September. Additionally, if you don’t get your blog finished before I post the writeup, let me know when it’s done and I’ll add it to the Linkomatic.

But we need a topic to actually write about. This time, it’s “What’s the Story?”:

“Videogame stories are where interactivity meets cinematography, decisions change destinies and players become poets. How do games tell better stories than other media, and where do they fall short?”

Five out of Ten: Storytellers

For all the focus on game stories – press obfuscation of plot, spoiler warnings, post-release analysis – do they really matter that much? We have always played games that allowed us to create the stories in our own minds, and recent titles like Pivvot show we don’t need a compelling story to have a great game.

Although ‘ludonarrative dissonance’ usually refers to the tension between the narrative elements of a game and the actions it has our character perform, maybe the real tension should be our feelings towards the existence of the story itself. Is our reliance on stories holding games back?

If you need further inspiration, check out Issue 4 of Five out of Ten. Its publication inspired this month’s topic; I felt like there was a lot more to say about the topic than we managed to cover. Right, that’s it – get blogging!

Your blog can be a direct response to the topic, or can explore the points raised by other blogs or articles you’ve read. I will update the BoRT Linkomatic automatically, you can see the current submissions here:

Use this code to embed the links in your blog:

<iframe type=“text/html” width=“600” height=“20” src=“” frameborder=“0”></iframe>

Please email us your submissions or tweet them to @AGBear with the #BoRT hashtag.

Rules of the Round Table

  • Blogs of the Round Table is not curated. If you write it, we’ll publish it, as long as it’s connected to the topic.
  • This BoRT post is the home of the discussion: as I receive new submission blogs, I’ll update the ‘BoRT Linkomatic’ so new blogs are reflected on this page immediately. We’ll also use the @critdistance Twitter account to post regular updates, so follow us!
  • Your duty as a knight of the round table is to leave a comment on a blog to which you respond with a link to the response piece, to give them a ‘right of reply’. Keep the conversation going.
  • Your blog does not have to be in English. If you submit a German piece I’ll try my best to read it; if it’s another language I’ll find someone else.
  • If your work contains potentially disturbing content, please include a suitable warning at the start. Use your common sense.
  • You can submit as many articles as you like throughout the month, and it doesn’t matter if they are commercially published, paywalled or available for free. We will need a transcript for paywalled content to be approved.

A Brief Guide to the Linkomatic

A few folks have had trouble embedding the BoRT Linkomatic on their blog, so here are a few pointers:

  • Rich-text editors tend to strip out HTML iframes. You should switch to an HTML editing mode before you paste the Linkomatic code into your blog.
  • and some other blogging platforms may not support iframes for security reasons.
  • Google is your friend: search for “(your blogging platform)> embed iframe”, or if you get stuck give @AGBear a shout on Twitter.