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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Colonialism, Privilege, and Meaningful Play in Dog Eat Dog

Apr 24, 13

Posted by in Interviews

Game designer Liam Liwanag Burke describes Dog Eat Dog as a “fun, compelling game about colonialism and assimilation in the Pacific Islands.” That’s right – Burke created a fun roleplaying game about the inequality inherent to colonialism and its consequences. One player acts as the...

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Discover Meriwether: An American Epic

Dec 12, 12

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At the end of November, Brooklyn-based indie game studio Sortasoft launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for Meriwether: An American Epic. Inspired by a trip taken along the Lewis and Clark National Historic trail, Meriwether allows players to command the Corps of Discovery as Meriwether Lewis and voyage across North America....

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Better Folklore through Alchemy

Nov 08, 12 Better Folklore through Alchemy

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For my birthday this past October, my girlfriend bought me a copy of Skyrim for XBox.  For those not familiar, Skyrim is the latest installment of the ‘Elder Scrolls’ series of open-world role playing games set in a Dungeons and Dragons-informed mythic backdrop.  It’s a standard RPG, where the player...

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Of Hockey, Sympathetic Magic, and Digital Dirt

Mar 22, 11 Of Hockey, Sympathetic Magic, and Digital Dirt

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We won tickets to see the Ottawa – Tampa Bay game on Saturday night. 100 level. Row B. This is a big deal for a hockey fan, since those are the kind of tickets that are normally not within your average budget. More to the point of this post, it put us right down at ice level, against the glass. Against the glass!!! Normally we...

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