The rules of song and the rules of myth: playing with dragons and other mythohistorical archetypes (rules of the text 2)

Feb 23, 12 The rules of song and the rules of myth: playing with dragons and other mythohistorical archetypes (rules of the text 2)

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George RR Martin titled A Song of Ice and Fire advisedly, I think, with reference to the bardic traditions of European culture that gave us also the Iliad, the Odyssey, Beowulf, and the Song of Roland among many others. As I’ve demonstrated, those bardic traditions worked like games. That we call them “oral improvisatory...

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The bard, with role divided

Apr 28, 11 The bard, with role divided

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I wrote at the end of my last post about the way game designers and game players, in the analogy between narrative games and homeric epic, have certain parts of the role of the bard divided between them: the player gets the most obviously fun part of the bard’s job–combining given formulas in effortlessly new ways, whether...

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Epic choices, and the lack thereof

Mar 10, 11 Epic choices, and the lack thereof

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This post serves as a prelude to some heavy oral formulaic lifting I’m planning to do in a subsequent one, following on from the more general argument I made about immersion in my previous two posts on games and homeric epic. Hopefully, these posts will clarify both the similarities between the interactivity and immersion to be...

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Epic immersion, part 2: the interactivity of the homerids

Feb 24, 11 Epic immersion, part 2: the interactivity of the homerids

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I think it’s fairly easy to see that the story of an adventure video game comes to be about the person playing the game—especially when we think of the various sorts of games that fall into the RPG (role-playing game) category in one way or another, in which a player generally plays a character over whose composition he or she...

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Emergent gameplay, bardic style

Jan 27, 11 Emergent gameplay, bardic style

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There’s a wonderful moment in Book 8 of the homeric Odyssey when Odysseus treats Demodocus, one of the two bards in the Odyssey (we’ll meet poor Phemius, the other one, very briefly later in this post) pretty much the way a gamer treats his or her controller, fulfilling the fantasy that herdsman from my last post has of being a...

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