You're (probably) using Ludonarrative Dissonance completely wrong

Terminal Blue

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Casual Shinji said:
That's not really a contradiction, since all the people he kills are "bad guys". Characters like Han Solo and Indiana Jones are still likeable and they kill tons of people, too.
So the thing is, ludonarrative often works on the level of feeling. In Clint Hocking's Bioshock article, he's describing how the experience of playing Bioshock made him feel disconnected from its story because he felt the gameplay was giving him a moral choice (to be selfish or not to be selfish) but regardless the story was forcing him to be altruistic by trying to help Atlas.

Now, in a very literal sense I could argue that this isn't a contradiction because Jack is a brainwashed clone who is forced to obey Atlas' commands, and that is true. It makes sense that Jack has no choice to obey Atlas, but that wasn't Hocking's problem. His problem was that it felt wrong, on a visceral level.

Many, many people have pointed out a similar experience with the uncharted games. It's such a well recognized criticism that Naughty Dog have directly responded to it (a response I suspect you've read, given your examples) and added an achievement to one of the games. It doesn't matter why people feel this way about Nathan Drake and not about Indiana Jones, the point is a lot of people clearly do. Heck, the zero punctuation reviews of the series have always made a big deal of it.

One possibility is that it may just be a feature of length (a game is typically much longer than a movie and thus will in practice involve more people dying in more repetitive ways), or maybe it's a tonal shift between the cutscenes often looking like Nathan Drake's super fun gap year and then suddenly morphing into an 80s action movie as soon as bad guys show up, or maybe it's the fact that Nathan has a very different established personality (and generally seems to act like it's all a rip snorting good time adventure with occasional mild peril).

Summer Blockbusters use film language to deliberately steer the audience away from thinking about things you aren't supposed to think about. You can shoot a scene with someone mowing someone down with a machine gun, but you can essentially choose whether that scene is emotionally impactful or not by the way you film it. Games generally don't really have the same degree of tonal control, what they have instead is ludonarrative.
 

stroopwafel

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The only time I ever really experienced ludo dissonance was with GTA4. It is my most favorite GTA by far(not for the shit driving) but Niko's character was really solemn and contemplative and just didn't jive at all with the GTA shenanigans outside the story missions. I really enjoyed the story in GTA4 but this contradiction between character and gameplay really broke immersion for me. Considering the cast of inexcusable pricks in GTA5 it's apparent Rockstar was aware of that problem as well.

In most games the writing and characterization tend to be so piss poor it's easy for me to distance from inconsistencies. I think ludo dissonance only becomes apparent when serious writing becomes equally good to contradicting gameplay.
 

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stroopwafel said:
The only time I ever really experienced ludo dissonance was with GTA4. It is my most favorite GTA by far(not for the shit driving) but Niko's character was really solemn and contemplative and just didn't jive at all with the GTA shenanigans outside the story missions. I really enjoyed the story in GTA4 but this contradiction between character and gameplay really broke immersion for me. Considering the cast of inexcusable pricks in GTA5 it's apparent Rockstar was aware of that problem as well.

In most games the writing and characterization tend to be so piss poor it's easy for me to distance from inconsistencies. I think ludo dissonance only becomes apparent when serious writing becomes equally good to contradicting gameplay.
Didn't San Andreas also have this problem? CJ is supposed to be a good kid with some past problems who wanted to come home and is almost immediately pushed into a life of crime reluctantly by his criminal friends and a crooked cop, which in no way affects you acting like a jackass all the time, like people normally do in GTA games.

ANd then there's that fun little fact that Officer Tenpenny exhorts you by threatening to frame you with the murder of a police officer at the beginning of the game, which somehow is still a threat despite CJ very likely murdering hundreds of cops for real over the course of play......assuming you aren't just going on killing sprees for funsies like most players do.
 

Casual Shinji

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evilthecat said:
Many, many people have pointed out a similar experience with the uncharted games. It's such a well recognized criticism that Naughty Dog have directly responded to it (a response I suspect you've read, given your examples) and added an achievement to one of the games. It doesn't matter why people feel this way about Nathan Drake and not about Indiana Jones, the point is a lot of people clearly do. Heck, the zero punctuation reviews of the series have always made a big deal of it.
Like the whole overuse of luddonarrative dissonance I feel this is a case of people assuming something by default, like stating Belle has Stockholm syndrome in Beauty and the Beast. The complaint always comes down to 'he's killed like a thousand hencemen', not 'I don't recognize him in the gameplay'. At best the luddo. diss. comes into play with how organic and "real" Drake is portrayed in cutscenes versus how ridiculous his actions are in gameplay.


Likeable protagonists in games have been killing people long before the Uncharted series came along, and Yahtzee just hates Drake anyway regardless of him killing tons of dudes or not.


Someone can say they can't stand the way he's all smarmy and quipy when he casually shoots people in the face, but that's not a disconnect between character and gameplay, that's just that person not liking the character. I can't say I've ever heard anyone complain about how they like Drake in the cutscenes, but hate him (his personality/the morallity of his actions) in gameplay.
 

wizzy555

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Casual Shinji said:
evilthecat said:
Many, many people have pointed out a similar experience with the uncharted games. It's such a well recognized criticism that Naughty Dog have directly responded to it (a response I suspect you've read, given your examples) and added an achievement to one of the games. It doesn't matter why people feel this way about Nathan Drake and not about Indiana Jones, the point is a lot of people clearly do. Heck, the zero punctuation reviews of the series have always made a big deal of it.
Like the whole overuse of luddonarrative dissonance I feel this is a case of people assuming something by default, like stating Belle has Stockholm syndrome in Beauty and the Beast. The complaint always comes down to 'he's killed like a thousand hencemen', not 'I don't recognize him in the gameplay'. At best the luddo. diss. comes into play with how organic and "real" Drake is portrayed in cutscenes versus how ridiculous his actions are in gameplay.
Arguably we should call that ludo-character dissonance as opposed to ludo-narrative.

Although at a certain point we have to say this is the central conceit of a third person shooter and accept it.
 

wizzy555

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The dumbest accusation of ludo narrative dissonance was probably bioshock infinite. They were mostly likely describing aesthetic-ludo dissonance which was probably entirely intentional since the theme of the story was thin veneers of propaganda covering over awful truths.
 

Terminal Blue

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Casual Shinji said:
Like the whole overuse of luddonarrative dissonance I feel this is a case of people assuming something by default, like stating Belle has Stockholm syndrome in Beauty and the Beast.
Okay, so one difference is that Beauty and the Beast doesn't have gameplay and therefore doesn't have ludonarrative (story told through gameplay). It's a film, it has its own film language and ways of conveying story through the visual medium of film.

Secondly, the problem with "belle has Stockholm syndrome" is that it's just outright wrong by even basic reference to the narrative. Belle is not a prisoner. She is not really mistreated except by being yelled at one time. She breaks the rules by wandering into the West Wing and then, when beast confronts her (something he immediately regrets, as we see in the scene), she breaks her promise and leaves.

Furthermore, after this moment (and the ensuing wolf rescue) Beast does not continue to treat Belle the same way. It is a turning point in their relationship and we are allowed to see this.

"Belle has stockholm syndrome" is one of these little pop-feminist "insights" that is neither insightful nor particularly feminist (because using it implies that someone hasn't realised that virtually every Disney story has some kind of sexist implications). There's no problem with the story, the problem is on the level of subtext and implications not matching up to modern sensibilities.

Uncharted, does have gameplay, and thus it does have ludonarrative. It has an implicit story which is being told through the gameplay. The implication here is that this narrative contradicts with the more filmic qualities of the narrative conveyed through cutscenes and voice acting and characterization. Thus, ludonarrative dissonance.

And "likeable" protagonist doesn't always mean the same thing. BJ Blazkowicz in Wolfenstein: The New Order is "likeable", but there's no break between his characterization and the story told by gameplay, which is generally going to be about BJ murdering hordes of Nazis. He's always presented to you as someone who is in it to kill Nazis, and the gameplay rewards you for doing so. You could, if you wanted, read BJ as far more murderous and sociopathic than Nathan Drake but he doesn't give that "off" feeling of just being an ordinary person until combat starts. Heck, New Order in particular goes to huge lengths to preserve ludonarrative coherence, down to having BJ get stabbed, shot and otherwise messed up in cutscenes and just walk it off because that's what he does in gameplay. The BJ you play as in those games is the character, not a separate character who comes out whenever combat starts.
 

stroopwafel

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wizzy555 said:
Although at a certain point we have to say this is the central conceit of a third person shooter and accept it.
Yeah, b/c games are conceptualized and consequently designed first with a worldview(setting, style, atmosphere) and gameplay elements and then comes the story. With the story usually just being an excuse to go from A to B without much effort or thought put into it. It's actually quite rare that story works in tandem with gameplay and when they do(and both are of equal quality) they tend to be really immersive(ie Last of Us, Spec Ops The Line). Here, gameplay really serves(and re-enforces) the story. While I'm not the biggest fan of Last of Us myself I can't deny that espescially this game showed how having story and gameplay on the same level(and not contradicting itself) makes the game much more memorable. The recent God of War is another good example.
 

wizzy555

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stroopwafel said:
wizzy555 said:
Although at a certain point we have to say this is the central conceit of a third person shooter and accept it.
Yeah, b/c games are conceptualized and consequently designed first with a worldview(setting, style, atmosphere) and gameplay elements and then comes the story. With the story usually just being an excuse to go from A to B without much effort or thought put into it. It's actually quite rare that story works in tandem with gameplay and when they do(and both are of equal quality) they tend to be really immersive(ie Last of Us, Spec Ops The Line). Here, gameplay really serves(and re-enforces) the story. While I'm not the biggest fan of Last of Us myself I can't deny that espescially this game showed how having story and gameplay on the same level(and not contradicting itself) makes the game much more memorable. The recent God of War is another good example.
Yes otherwise the criticism is just this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V59u5TSmtEE
 

sXeth

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stroopwafel said:
wizzy555 said:
Although at a certain point we have to say this is the central conceit of a third person shooter and accept it.
Yeah, b/c games are conceptualized and consequently designed first with a worldview(setting, style, atmosphere) and gameplay elements and then comes the story. With the story usually just being an excuse to go from A to B without much effort or thought put into it. It's actually quite rare that story works in tandem with gameplay and when they do(and both are of equal quality) they tend to be really immersive(ie Last of Us, Spec Ops The Line). Here, gameplay really serves(and re-enforces) the story. While I'm not the biggest fan of Last of Us myself I can't deny that espescially this game showed how having story and gameplay on the same level(and not contradicting itself) makes the game much more memorable. The recent God of War is another good example.
That's a funny example, cause I'd put Last of Us on a pedestal of thoroughly contradicting its setting constantly with its gameplay. And not really being particularly assed addressing its direct narrative either. Outside of being an excuse for humdrum puzzle mechanics and a singular instance of being an offscreen sniper, Ellie is effectively a complete phantom entity in the game play despite the companion aspect of the entire story being the meat of the game (and when you do notice her, its often in the hilariously jarring sense of wandering around without a care in the world while everything gameplay related ignores her existence). During the brief protagonist flip, its suddenly Joel is a complete gameplay irrelevance.

As the setting goes, well either Joel is the baddest man walking the goddamned Planet Earth by an exponential margin, or there's some serious separation between how easily he kills zombies and how there's still any zombies left. Then of course, in this desolate world where not so much as a non-improvised knife is lying around, the enemies with military gear, infinite ammo, stockpiles of well maintained guns, functioning electricity to run turrets and spotlights are just all over the place (which becomes more amusing when you get to Tommy and they're struggling to manage the same). Functional cars are such a rarity that there's a whole chapter dedicated to getting one, but a group of bandits is setting traps specifically to catch people travelling by them for some reason. (Of course, the decay of apparently everything inside a 20(?) year span was a stretch to begin with, but thats par for the post-apocalyptic course).
 

stroopwafel

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Seth Carter said:
stroopwafel said:
wizzy555 said:
Although at a certain point we have to say this is the central conceit of a third person shooter and accept it.
Yeah, b/c games are conceptualized and consequently designed first with a worldview(setting, style, atmosphere) and gameplay elements and then comes the story. With the story usually just being an excuse to go from A to B without much effort or thought put into it. It's actually quite rare that story works in tandem with gameplay and when they do(and both are of equal quality) they tend to be really immersive(ie Last of Us, Spec Ops The Line). Here, gameplay really serves(and re-enforces) the story. While I'm not the biggest fan of Last of Us myself I can't deny that espescially this game showed how having story and gameplay on the same level(and not contradicting itself) makes the game much more memorable. The recent God of War is another good example.
That's a funny example, cause I'd put Last of Us on a pedestal of thoroughly contradicting its setting constantly with its gameplay. And not really being particularly assed addressing its direct narrative either. Outside of being an excuse for humdrum puzzle mechanics and a singular instance of being an offscreen sniper, Ellie is effectively a complete phantom entity in the game play despite the companion aspect of the entire story being the meat of the game (and when you do notice her, its often in the hilariously jarring sense of wandering around without a care in the world while everything gameplay related ignores her existence). During the brief protagonist flip, its suddenly Joel is a complete gameplay irrelevance.

As the setting goes, well either Joel is the baddest man walking the goddamned Planet Earth by an exponential margin, or there's some serious separation between how easily he kills zombies and how there's still any zombies left. Then of course, in this desolate world where not so much as a non-improvised knife is lying around, the enemies with military gear, infinite ammo, stockpiles of well maintained guns, functioning electricity to run turrets and spotlights are just all over the place (which becomes more amusing when you get to Tommy and they're struggling to manage the same). Functional cars are such a rarity that there's a whole chapter dedicated to getting one, but a group of bandits is setting traps specifically to catch people travelling by them for some reason. (Of course, the decay of apparently everything inside a 20(?) year span was a stretch to begin with, but thats par for the post-apocalyptic course).
Yeah, but using that kind of logic any kind of entertainment can be taken apart. Nothing is ever true to life. What I meant was more that the violence(ie combat) is framed in a way that it makes sense within the context of the game's story. This is something a game like Last of Us does exceptionally well and is actually quite rare. It's also neither glorified nor sanitized which further shows how they tried to make it thematically appropriate. In most games it's like the story and gameplay were created by two different teams who never once communicated. Last of Us(and some other games) feel much more cohesive in that aspect, and is something other developers should aspire to as well as it makes the game much more immersive.
 

sXeth

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stroopwafel said:
Yeah, but using that kind of logic any kind of entertainment can be taken apart. Nothing is ever true to life. What I meant was more that the violence(ie combat) is framed in a way that it makes sense within the context of the game's story. This is something a game like Last of Us does exceptionally well and is actually quite rare. It's also neither glorified nor sanitized which further shows how they tried to make it thematically appropriate. In most games it's like the story and gameplay were created by two different teams who never once communicated. Last of Us(and some other games) feel much more cohesive in that aspect, and is something other developers should aspire to as well as it makes the game much more immersive.
Ah, but what if (and I believe this is more or less possible, you certainly can minimalize the vast majority of combat) you ghost-stealth the entire game? Abruptly the calm collected precise and methodical Joel, is screaming in a rage, murdering doctors impulsively, shooting a friend(?) mid-parley. You might not be able to play him as non-lethal saint, but you can definitely subvert the violent personality they seem to be going for. You can even do it backwards, horrifically killing every living person near you, but then he's suddenly willing to put up with Bills nonsense, and he'll engage in cheerful banter with the two random strangers about the good old days of ice cream trucks, be awestruck by giraffes and so on.
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

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Casual Shinji said:
evilthecat said:
Many, many people have pointed out a similar experience with the uncharted games. It's such a well recognized criticism that Naughty Dog have directly responded to it (a response I suspect you've read, given your examples) and added an achievement to one of the games. It doesn't matter why people feel this way about Nathan Drake and not about Indiana Jones, the point is a lot of people clearly do. Heck, the zero punctuation reviews of the series have always made a big deal of it.
Like the whole overuse of luddonarrative dissonance I feel this is a case of people assuming something by default, like stating Belle has Stockholm syndrome in Beauty and the Beast. The complaint always comes down to 'he's killed like a thousand hencemen', not 'I don't recognize him in the gameplay'. At best the luddo. diss. comes into play with how organic and "real" Drake is portrayed in cutscenes versus how ridiculous his actions are in gameplay.


Likeable protagonists in games have been killing people long before the Uncharted series came along, and Yahtzee just hates Drake anyway regardless of him killing tons of dudes or not.


Someone can say they can't stand the way he's all smarmy and quipy when he casually shoots people in the face, but that's not a disconnect between character and gameplay, that's just that person not liking the character. I can't say I've ever heard anyone complain about how they like Drake in the cutscenes, but hate him (his personality/the morallity of his actions) in gameplay.

Yes, and also ND has always said Uncharted is paying homage to movies like Indiana Jones. The movies are full of smarmy, charming personalities that kill lots of people. Take James Bond for instance. I suppose if Nate had a ?license to kill? it would make it all ok.

I don?t know why Nathan Drake has been a sole point of contention regarding this issue over the thousands of instances out there, and it?s odd how killers apparently need to embody a typical ?bad guy? character archetype. The game?s tone assumes people accept the fact it?s either him or them, and makes no qualms about leaving it at that. As a player character you aren?t supposed to just let all the bad guys kill you, or expect to go on a self-realization quest towards acceptance of being a homicidal maniac afterwards because you feel bad. That wouldn?t be much of a game, and they?d have to complete change the tone from pulpy adventure to some depressing spin on a true crime drama, ending up feeling more ridiculous than it currently is.

It?s entertainment, and at least in Uncharted?s case it?s meant to be taken with a giant grain of salt.
 

Xprimentyl

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Prototype 2 always rang a little hollow with me for the subject at hand. In Prototype 1, Alex Mercer was jaded and angry and the sociopathic revenge seeker role was befitting of his consuming civilians and merciless killing sprees as a means to his end. But in P2, they replaced Mercer with James Heller, a victim of Alex Mercer who has set out to stop him, but still consumes innocents and wreaks havoc with careless abandon. It would seem they wanted you to dislike Mercer and empathize with Heller, but seeing as they?re essentially the same monster when in the hands of the player (versus the cutscenes where Heller is portrayed as generally righteous and good,) the only appreciable difference between the two seems to be skin tone.
 

Casual Shinji

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Seth Carter said:
As the setting goes, well either Joel is the baddest man walking the goddamned Planet Earth by an exponential margin, or there's some serious separation between how easily he kills zombies and how there's still any zombies left. Then of course, in this desolate world where not so much as a non-improvised knife is lying around, the enemies with military gear, infinite ammo, stockpiles of well maintained guns, functioning electricity to run turrets and spotlights are just all over the place (which becomes more amusing when you get to Tommy and they're struggling to manage the same). Functional cars are such a rarity that there's a whole chapter dedicated to getting one, but a group of bandits is setting traps specifically to catch people travelling by them for some reason. (Of course, the decay of apparently everything inside a 20(?) year span was a stretch to begin with, but thats par for the post-apocalyptic course).
If you're talking about Pittsburgh, that place is very obviously eating itself from the inside. The fact that you wander into the place while it still has supplies is simple coincidence. There's also only one spotlight and one turret (on the truck) in that entire chapter, which is running off an emergency generator, one of two you find in the whole city. And Tommy's settlement is never shown struggling, as he clearly says they've got crops and livestock, and that eventhough nobody thought people could live like this anymore, they're doing it. They're actually shown as an example of a thriving community of "nice" people.
Ah, but what if (and I believe this is more or less possible, you certainly can minimalize the vast majority of combat) you ghost-stealth the entire game? Abruptly the calm collected precise and methodical Joel, is screaming in a rage, murdering doctors impulsively, shooting a friend(?) mid-parley. You might not be able to play him as non-lethal saint, but you can definitely subvert the violent personality they seem to be going for. You can even do it backwards, horrifically killing every living person near you, but then he's suddenly willing to put up with Bills nonsense, and he'll engage in cheerful banter with the two random strangers about the good old days of ice cream trucks, be awestruck by giraffes and so on.
Joel is not screaming in rage in that section, like, at all. And even if you could stealth the entire game, which you can't, the story makes it quite clear that after a certain point Joel accepts Ellie as his surrogate daughter and that, combined with the trauma of losing his real daughter, anyone who dares visit harm upon her will suffer a nasty end. The torture during Winter is a precursor to how the game ultimately ends. There's two specific scenes in the game where Joel tortures someone. The first showing him approaching it like he's unclogging his sink, and the second one where he's all menace and brutallity.

Joel doesn't even have a violent personallity throughout most of the game, since he's pretty disconnected from his emotions. It's not until Ellie opens those emotional flood gates that all the fear and anger comes pouring out.


Also, Bill is someone Joel considers a friend of sorts -- just because he needs to kill to survive (you never actually hunt people down, it's always 'get them before they get you' type violence) doesn't mean he's going to kill everyone he has a slight argument with. And those two random strangers aren't really random strangers anymore by the time he's spent the better part of the day with them, helping eachother through numerous dangerous encounters (Henry saves both Joel and Ellie from drowning).
 

-Dragmire-

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Like I said his analysis may be flawed but his definition of LD is pretty specific and well-defined. The game allowed for him to exercise its theme through gameplay (the little sisters), then another part of gameplay (forced helping of Atlas) didn't allow for exercising said theme. You can argue what the game's theme is and what objectivism itself actually is so you can say Bioshock doesn't have any LD, but the fact is term was defined very specifically. So a game needs to have its theme be able to be expressed via gameplay (1st trigger) and then another element of gameplay to contradict that by forcefully not allowing the expression of the said theme (2nd trigger). Barely any games will even have LD because rarely does a game ever allow the player to exercise the its themes through gameplay.
So wait, ludonarrative dissonance is only based on a narrative's theme and not any other part of the narrative!? Why isn't it ludothematic dissonance then?

So 2 examples of a theoretical post apocalypse game.

1)Has a theme of rejecting currency in favor of bartering. Game has plenty of currency, which the game acknowledges exists and that society has rejected its use, but npcs will still accept it to allow the player to buy rather than barter. This is ludonarrative dissonance.

2)Has a setting in which currency is supposed to be rare, leading people to barter. Enemies in the game drop currency, allowing the player to break the economy. This is not ludonarrative dissonance.


Is this right?
 

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Here is a direct extract from the original Ludonarrative Dissonance article.[footnote]http://clicknothing.typepad.com/click_nothing/2007/10/ludonarrative-d.html[/footnote]

Bioshock begins by offering the player two contracts.

One is a ludic contract - literally "seek power and you will progress". This ludic contract is in line with the values underlying Randian rational self-interest. The rules of the game say "it is best if I do what is best for me without consideration for others". This is a pretty standard value in single player games where all the other characters in the game world (or at very least all of the characters in play in the game world) tend to be in direct conflict with the player. However, it must be pointed out that Bioshock goes the extra mile and ties this game mechanical contract back to the narrative in spectacular fashion through the use of the Little Sisters. By "dressing up" the mechanics of this contract in well realized content I literally experience what it means to gain by doing what is best for me (I get more Adam) without consideration for others (by harvesting Little Sisters).

Thus, the ludic contract works in the sense that I actually feel the themes of the game being expressed through mechanics. The game literally made me feel a cold detachment from the fate of the Little Sisters, who I assumed could not be saved (or even if they could, would suffer some worse fate at the hands of Tenenbaum). Harvesting them in pursuit of my own self-interest seems not only the best choice mechanically, but also the right choice. This is exactly what this game needed to do - make me experience - feel - what it means to embrace a social philosophy that I would not under normal circumstances consider.

To be successful, the game would need to not only make me somehow adopt this difficult philosophy, but then put me in a pressure-cooker where the systems and content slowly transform the game landscape until I find myself caught in the aforementioned "trap". Unfortunately, when we take the first, ludic contract and map it to the game's second contract, the game falls apart.

The game's second contract is a narrative contract - "help Atlas and you will progress". There are three fundamental problems with this being the narrative contract of the game.

First, this contract is not in line with the values underlying Randian rational self-interest; "helping someone else" is presented as the right thing to do by the story, yet the opposite proposition appears to be true under the mechanics.

Second, Atlas is openly opposed to Ryan, yet again, as mentioned above, I am philosophically aligned with Ryan by my acceptance of the mechanics. Why do I want to stop Ryan, or kill him, or listen to Atlas at all? Ryan's philosophy is in fact the guiding principle of the mechanics that I am experiencing through play.

Thirdly, I don't have a choice with regards to the proposition of the (second) contract. I am constrained by the design of the game to help Atlas, even if I am opposed to the principle of helping someone else. In order to go forward in the game, I must do as Atlas says because the game does not offer me the freedom to choose sides in the conflict between Ryan and Atlas.

This is a serious problem. In the game's mechanics, I am offered the freedom to choose to adopt an Objectivist approach, but I also have the freedom to reject that approach and to rescue the Little Sisters, even though it is not in my own (net) best interest to do so (even over time according to this fascinating data).

Yet in the game's fiction on the other hand, I do not have that freedom to choose between helping Atlas or not. Under the ludic contract, if I accept to adopt an Objectivist approach, I can harvest Little Sisters. If I reject that approach, I can rescue them. Under the story, if I reject an Objectivist approach, I can help Atlas and oppose Ryan, and if I choose to adopt an Objectivist approach - well too bad? I can stop playing the game, but that's about it.
It's one of those terms that was adopted slightly differently from the way it was originally proposed. Oversimplified to the point that it should be obvious, even if it really isn't true to the original definition.
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

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-Dragmire- said:
Phoenixmgs said:
Like I said his analysis may be flawed but his definition of LD is pretty specific and well-defined. The game allowed for him to exercise its theme through gameplay (the little sisters), then another part of gameplay (forced helping of Atlas) didn't allow for exercising said theme. You can argue what the game's theme is and what objectivism itself actually is so you can say Bioshock doesn't have any LD, but the fact is term was defined very specifically. So a game needs to have its theme be able to be expressed via gameplay (1st trigger) and then another element of gameplay to contradict that by forcefully not allowing the expression of the said theme (2nd trigger). Barely any games will even have LD because rarely does a game ever allow the player to exercise the its themes through gameplay.
So wait, ludonarrative dissonance is only based on a narrative's theme and not any other part of the narrative!? Why isn't it ludothematic dissonance then?

So 2 examples of a theoretical post apocalypse game.

1)Has a theme of rejecting currency in favor of bartering. Game has plenty of currency, which the game acknowledges exists and that society has rejected its use, but npcs will still accept it to allow the player to buy rather than barter. This is ludonarrative dissonance.

2)Has a setting in which currency is supposed to be rare, leading people to barter. Enemies in the game drop currency, allowing the player to break the economy. This is not ludonarrative dissonance.

Is this right?
I didn't coin the term. I never personally got why critics and gamers on the bandwagon saying games like Uncharted had LD. Uncharted is basically Indiana Jones where you get to play the action scenes so of course the cutscenes don't have Drake killing people because that's the gameplay part of the game.

I would say neither of those 2 examples would be just because the player would never be forced to use currency and not barter and thus go against the theme.