a portfolio of videogame writings
Back in 2007, former Lucasarts Creative Director and current Valve employee, Clint Hocking, wrote a blog post about the Ludonarrative Dissonance resulting from Bioshock’s methods of storytelling. It expanded upon his observation that Bioshock’s played story (the ludic) sat at odds with its told story (the narrative), thus rendering the overall storytelling experience uncomfortably fractured.
It’s an eloquent thought piece that has gained renown in the past five years for artfully summarising an issue inherent to traditional storytelling within videogames. It also seems to have gone largely ignored within the realms of big budget videogame development.
Take for instance Crystal Dynamics’s recently released Tomb Raider, an origins story that explores series protagonist Lara Croft’s development into the confident, duel-pistol wielding raider of tombs we all knew in the 90’s. Mechanically, it’s a well-crafted game, borrowing heavily from the Uncharted template of modern action-adventuring. Its storytelling, however, is a game of two disconnected halves, communicating with each other via cup and string from different dimensions.