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Play of the Light #3 - Thirties Clothes but Seventies Hair                                                              

Many long-form single-player videogames must resolve the inherent tension that exists between storytelling and gameplay. Some games excel at elegantly expressing both story and play in a single set of rules; others struggle with it. Mass Effect represents an interesting (and highly visible) failure in this regard, putting two entirely different and rather contradictory rulesets in play at once, one for exploring the game’s rich narrative space but another to handle the game’s focus on ground combat.

In this episode, after Jason opens with a story about watching a family member discover this internal conflict with unfortunate results, the hosts explore how games of various sizes and scopes — from plucky indie titles to Bioware-funded blockbusters — meet this challenge, and speculate on what current trends in these strategies might say about the future of the artform.

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Matt’s sound is a once again a bit droppy. Sorry about that. (I know why, and it shouldn’t be a problem after this episode.)

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