One might say that “ludo-narrative dissonance” has become somewhat of a buzz-word of mine of late, and one would be very correct in saying so. The issues presented in video games when ludic (game mechanics) and narrative expressions do not compute has become a particular interest of mine. So much so that is has become a central part of my Master’s Thesis: “In order to create a cohesive experience of play and story, ludic and narrative elements must align in meaning and expression”.
How do you tell a good story in a video game? This is a challenge developers have struggled with since the early ages of video games, and more often than not, the story in a game comes across as slightly lacklustre in one way or another. Now, you could simply dismiss this as being down to video games favouring gameplay over narrative. However, the Telltale games success points toward another problem – one that indicates an intrinsic disparity between game and story.