We’re talking about Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition (2012) this month. Although originally released in 1998, the Enhanced Edition is now the main entry-point to the game and its series for current audiences.
Let’s talk about its success — and failures — in trying to capture tabletop RPG mechanics, its location-based narrative structure, and its major influence on user interface design. Let’s compare how it, and Fallout (1997), have defined how role-playing games should look and feel like, examining how echoes of its design can be seen in everything from Pillars of Eternity (2015) to The Outer Worlds (2019).
We’re talking about Death Stranding this month; I’ll be leading the discussion. I’d like to explore the pleasures of traversal, building, and helping. And I’d like to explore what it means for a game to be so very much its own thing.
This month, we’re going to be talking about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, with Ariel leading the discussion. From Ariel:
This month’s symposium is on how the latest Animal Crossing has pulled in aspects from mobile gaming, including monthly events, daily rewards, and incorporating a literal smartphone as part of the interface.
As usual, we’ll talk over Discord: 8:30 EDT, 7:30 CDT, 5:30 PDT.
When RPG designers first began to work in the digital medium, it quickly became clear that a truly faithful translation of the tabletop experience was impossible. As such, those designers developed new artistic strategies for making digital RPGs possible at all. Roguelikes and JRPGs were two very different sub-genres representing two very different artistic decisions. And yet, in FF4:Free Enterprise Edition, we are faced with a game that tries to recombine these distantly related sub-genres into one experience. We will focus on how this is possible, and which parts of each experience are able to survive hybridization.
I’m fascinated by the co-op LCG genre, so I’ll want to talk about how its mix of deck-building, narrative, and co-op mechanics create its particular style of immersion. When we dabbled in the digital version of Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, we talked a little about how the element these games seem to share of participation in a developing storyworld (notably Tokien’s mythos and the Marvel universe, in addition to Lovecraft’s legendarium) might go hand-in-hand with the same kind of power-fantasy we tend to bemoan in mainstream games. It may be interesting to discuss whether that holds true in this game: though Lovecraft’s work is problematic in many ways, it can hardly be said to present a narrative of conventional heroism.
Conversation on Discord, game-streaming via OCTGN on twitch.tv/8mph1.