Yesterday I discovered The Brainy Gamer, and reading through some of its most recent posts, I’m wondering what the hell took me so long. Its Vintage Game Club post discussing Grim Fandango alone instantly upgrades this to one of my favorite blogs, and it doesn’t hurt that the writing is excellent
In any case, I found the blog through a link from Kotaku, highlighting a number of different essays on gaming narrative that all seem to have coincidentally appeared at around the same time. Blog author Michael Abbott proposes that these essays are the beginning of a kind of manifesto concerning narratives in gaming:
Perhaps “manifesto” is too strong a word for what I’m describing, but at the moment I can’t think of a better one. Most dictionaries define the term as a public declaration of intentions, motives or views. Beyond that simple definition, however, manifestos are intrinsically anti-status-quo. Regardless of its framework – politics, ideology or art – a manifesto is a defiant call for change and an implied “Who’s with me?” All of the people I’m about to describe are plugging into something that sounds very much like a collective manifesto to me.
I won’t go into much more of it here, save that one of the authors Abbott quotes is Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid, a game that recently hit the Xbox Live Marketplace. (A full review of which is forthcoming, but in short, a brilliant game that everyone should go play.)
Abbott’s post is an excellent read, and although I haven’t yet been able to delve into the links he provides, I expect I have several hours of reading ahead of me. Go check it out.