16 Sep

The Proof is in the Details – How Theme Supports Mechanics

Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga - shipsThe writer John Gardner, in his now quite classical work on writing titled “The Art of Fiction” talks about details as being the “proof” that makes a reader believe in what the writer is telling him.

That’s the whole “show don’t tell” thing – if the writer tells the reader “the guy was lonely and didn’t like it” it’s not very convincing. But let the guy look around his empty apartment, flick channels on the TV, stare at his breakfast table set for one and sigh and we believe, we feel that he’s in a slump.

The same goes for games. When the theme supports the mechanics we believe in the game, we’re sucked into it, engulfed in the world and enjoy our play. But if they diverge, if they clash with one another or with our gaming styles, then our minds are jarred out of the game and leave the table disappointed. Read More