Cards from the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

The LCG’s unique way of doing epic — that is, of allowing its player to perform their own recomposed elaborations of the storyworlds’ narrative materials — stems from the nexus of the ludic and the narrative to be found in these scenario-making cards. There’s a deceptively simple comparison to be made with what we know as the books of the Iliad and the Odyssey, which almost certainly originate in individual songs that a bard might have sung on a given occasion.Continue Reading

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 universallyContinue Reading

I ended up like this, last time: “the ruleset of knitting is not humanistic because its narrative varies so little.” In this post, I want briefly to explore some of the implications of that statement. Or, really, I want to try it on for size. First of all, the converseContinue Reading

It’s officially summer, on my calendar at least, and so I’m going to change my format to something a little lazier. Shorter posts, more questions, fewer “I argue in this post”s and “as I demonstrated”s. What is the relationship of immersion to flow? By flow, I mean of course CziksentmihalyianContinue Reading

This post picks up where my last one left off, and does the heavy oral formulaic lifting I mentioned before. If we take the phrase “Playing the Past” as loosely as I think all of us here would like, playing the past is exactly what the homeric bards were doing,Continue Reading

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 betweenContinue Reading

The beginnings of practomimes, whether oral traditional epics or narrative video games, can, I think, tell us a great deal about some fascinating similarities and differences among how performers through the ages–bards, storytellers of all kinds, video gamers–expressed themselves artistically. Such comparisons seem to me to pay huge dividends notContinue Reading

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 fantasyContinue Reading