Episode 156: Story, Mechanics, and Dynamical Meaning

Hosts: Megan, Scott, Timo, Todd

Metal guys. The bears of the straight world.

Come to February Jank on Demand!

What’d we play?: 7:20
Timo, Todd, Megan: Apocalypse World
Scott: X-Wing, The Star Wars Card Game
Todd: Questlord and Dragon’s Dogma
Megan: Borderlands 2
Timo: Uncharted 2

Topic: 32:35
Story, Mechanics, and Dynamical Meaning
Braid designer Jonathan Blow suggests that story and mechanics in video games are often at odds.

Mechanics are meaningful, he suggests, something he calls “dynamical meaning,” and they are not often paired well with the stories the games are trying to tell. We explore this idea in RPGs, discussing games such as D&D, Misspent Youth, Hell 4 Leather, Apocalypse World, Fiasco, Dogs in the Vineyard, and more, to examine how the mechanics of games provide meaning that may or may not service the stories people are trying to tell.

Rants: 1:21:05
Timo- Don’t be entitled, people, especially not at Dim Sum.
Scott: I like independent content delivery.
Todd: A funny thing happened on the L…
Megan: Learn small details, like what flowers I like.

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5 thoughts on “Episode 156: Story, Mechanics, and Dynamical Meaning

  1. That superhero game makes me think of Misspent Youth. You can always win, if you sell out and become like what you’re trying to stop.

  2. I’ve been looking for a good (not so crunchy, sorry Marvel) superhero game forever. Godspeed.

    Also, Nerd Poker continues to be terrible. It pretty much sums up the problems with D&D as a game, before you even consider the misogynist hosts.

  3. It makes me so sad to hear that because there is really good D&D AP content out there – the Critical Hits (Major Spoilers) guys put out a great one, which was honestly the main driving force in getting me back into D&D and hence gaming – but people are listening to Nerd Poker because it’s an Earwolf podcast and hey, those Earwolf guys are usually pretty funny.

  4. Critical Hits? It’s actually several campaigns at this point – I haven’t listened in a while. They also throw in episodes where they answer questions about the system, go through character creation and other bits and pieces of effluvia associated with 4e.

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