90s Design: On Canon

Canon is now a Thing. Nerds fret over it and creators hate wrestling with it, but it used to be a nonentity in mainstream media. You had continuity, but there was little pretense of a persistent world with a coherent entity. Now everybody’s trying to build big media franchise like Marvel and Star Wars. Now […]

Followup: Diegesis vs. Representation

Jason Corley asked a couple of questions about yesterday’s article on diegetic game design. I answered. Here’s how it went down.   Interesting…how do you distinguish this type of design from purely representational design?  By addressing social and thematic elements, and by reverse-engineering game-oriented concepts into things in the world. Example: “Mr. Johnson” is a […]

90s Design: Diegesis

Misunderstood and awaiting revival, diegesis is one of the distinctive features of the 90s revolution in RPG design. It’s a fancy word though, so let’s stop and unpack. I’ll start with a dictionary definition: the lowest form of analysis.   the telling of a story by a narrator who summarizes events in the plot and […]

90s Design: Deep Story Worlds

  It started with Dragonlance. Well, not really. It started with Pendragon. No, Glorantha. Tekumel. Worlds. Crack open Empire of the Petal Throne you’ll notice that the game wants to be about the world, but is a bit hesitant to go there. The game assumes you’re not a Tsolyani citizen. You’re an outsider, getting to […]