Nothing Lasts


In “Nothing Lasts,” Stephen Schryer considers Tom LeClair’s Passing On and The Liquidators as paired novels, one immersing the reader in the maelstrom of the social and economic systems that shape contemporary life, the other shielding the reader from those systems. Unlike the massive novels from the seventies that fascinated LeClair the critic, Schryer finds the novelist a “literary miniaturist,” seeking “concise synecdoches for the larger systems” his books evoke.

Beyond the String of Beads: More Systems for Game Narrative


Monica Evans extends Costikyan’s analysis of the narrative/game debate, but ultimately concludes that battles over genre categorization miss the point of electronic media, and that we cannot yet accurately assess how the tension between story and play works out because digital games are “products of a technology still in its infancy.”

Dungeons, Dragons & Numerals: Jan Van Looy's Riposte to Erik Mona


Jan Van Looy criticizes Erik Mona’s history of Dungeons & Dragons as overly descriptive, and Van Looy critiques the game’s quantification of the qualitative, i.e., personal characteristics and magic - which were hitherto considered unquantifiable.

One Story, Many Media


Kevin Wilson describes his methodology of boiling a franchise down to its core elements and weighing the differences among media when translating games from medium to medium.

Design Decisions and Concepts in Licensed Collectible Card Games


Eric Lang (with Pat Harrigan) explains the advantages writers have in crafting adaptations of literary franchises into collectible card games. Lang maintains that, while attempting to remain true to the original, when turning narratives into games, one must “respect the medium.”

On Mystery of the Abbey


Bruno Faidutti begins with the controversial premise that “[e]very game tells a story,” in his description of how he uses literary techniques to enhance gameplay - even in non-RPG systems such as board games, which don’t traditionally include a story.

Structure and Meaning in Role-Playing Game Design


Using Exalted as her text, Rebecca Borgstrom begins with the premises that every role-playing game requires a setting, and that to establish a fictional world players work within a mutually agreed upon structure to construct meaning.

On Life's Lottery


Kim Newman describes various methods of approaching his choose-your-own-adventure-style novel, which can be read or played because, like a role-playing game, “you are at once a reader and the main character.”

Playing with the Mythos


Van Leavenworth, in his response to Hite, delves more deeply into Cthulhu’s literariness, in particular the “large adventure book ‘footprint’ ” of the series. He contends that the Lovecraft mythos provides a framework for the generation of narratives that - unlike many RPG stories - hold up beyond the game-play session.

What Was Postmodernism?


Brian McHale looks back on the movement in “What Was Postmodernism?” He contrasts postmodernism’s canonization with critical constructions of modernism, and moves through contemporary painting to reflect on intersections between the violence of recent history and postmodernism, as the postwar world lived “in the ruins of our own civilization, if only in our imaginations.”