The Bethesda Style, 2: Progression by Performance

Jun 06, 18 The Bethesda Style, 2: Progression by Performance

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I apologize for not replying to comments on the first post of this series! I’ll remedy that now, and promise to be more vigilant with this post! Digital RPGs have a wide variety of ways to allow the player-performer to progress their player-character towards greater prowess. The process is universally referred to as leveling...

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The Bethesda style of oral formulaic epic, part 1

May 22, 18 The Bethesda style of oral formulaic epic, part 1

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In a series of essays starting in 2004 and including a series of posts here on Play the Past, I’ve described player-performance in adventure games of various genres as examples of what Albert Lord, in The Singer of Tales, the seminal work on oral formulaic composition of homeric epic, calls thematic recomposition. Briefly put,...

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From line-end formula to aristeia: how an epic ruleset goes from mechanic to theme

Oct 25, 16 From line-end formula to aristeia: how an epic ruleset goes from mechanic to theme

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In my last post I discussed the most basic rule of the epic game: kleos. Oral epic developed in such a way as to provide glory to heroes by naming them at the end of the poetic line. Now I’m going to push forward and show how that simple mechanic When we take a look at a typical section of a battle book of the Iliad, which...

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The line-end formula, smoking gun of play-mechanics in oral epic

Aug 16, 16 The line-end formula, smoking gun of play-mechanics in oral epic

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Part of a series on the educational affordances of interactive narrative. ba da Bum ba da Bum bum Podas ōkus Akhilleus (pronounce the final “eu” as “yoo” if you have to—it’s a diphthong: the final Bum). Polumētis Odysseus (same here). “Swift-footed Achilles.” “Cunning...

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Socrates the Gamer

Jul 06, 16 Socrates the Gamer

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In this post I’ll expand on some points I made in my last. By opening out the notion of Socrates as fundamentally a participant interactive performances (that is, like his fellow Athenian elites, steeped in a culture founded on homeric epic), I mean to launch the principal argument of this post-series/book. We know next to...

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