Skip Cutscene? Gameplay Mechanics as Storytelling

Hello and welcome to another Side-Quest episode of Talk This! It’s Dangerous to Podcast Alone! Only it’s not just another Side-Quest, because we’ve got special programming for you this time. Instead of our typical news show format, we wanted to give an informal version of our presentation at the PCA/ACA conference back in April! So, here we go! Yes, we’re aware that the title doesn’t really reflect the content. We’re sorry.

As always, you can listen to our podcast basically anywhere you want. Check it out on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and on the Pandora app (or head over to our episodes page for even more options). Or just listen below!


While you’ll have to listen to the episode for more information, our basic premise is that you can map mechanics on a scale of power (vertical depth) and control (horizontal width) in order to provide yourself language with which to express what work it’s doing narratively. You can see some of those mechanics mapped above. We talk about why each one fits where it does in the episode.


A lot of what we discuss is building off Emma’s work on the Play This! series on YouTube in which she looks at…well, gameplay as storytelling. In her next video in June, she will actually try to implement this methodology into whatever her topic turns out to be. But, until then, you can try it yourself by watching her older videos and leaving comments with your own analysis of where the mechanics fall on the quadrants.

Enjoy the episode! Check out last week’s episode where we talked about Thief and Days Gone and look forward to next week’s episode where we’re talking about Spore and Red Dead Redemption 2! And we’re back from Japan, so we’ll be more topical again! Hopefully.

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