• Welcome to droqen's forum-shaped notebook. Please log in.

(playing) Disco Elysium

Started by droqen, January 01, 2022, 01:17:38 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


I don't wear a white shirt under my jacket because it gives me -1 to Suggestion, and I want to be able to Suggest well. But I don't really feel in tune with the world, making this decision
 It's a stretch.


I have been playing Disco Elysium some more.

I like its characters, its mystery is interesting, and the world is dense and inventive and weird, and it has such a commitment to bringing up politics around every corner, from every perspective. I like the writing style.

I think it controls well, I adore the metaphor of the thought cabinet, and my god the whole simulation is lush and chaotic and just plain cool. I like the way the voices in your head are driven by your systems and your stats.

But as I play, the inescapable conclusion I have been coming to is that I still don't like it, and I think there is a tension, to use an architectural Alexanderian term, between good prose and good systems. The relationship will never satisfy me.

My proposed corollary: videogame writing is bad because good writing in videogames doesn't work. I wouldn't watch a film that has the same type of writing I'd read in a novel. (I mean I might, but I wouldn't expect it to work.)

I don't like "good writing" in games.

I'll try to come up with an answer to "why" - the tension is between wanting to be in control of my reading experience, but not wanting to be entirely in control of the systems.


Well, I can't say that good writing doesn't belong in videogames, but I can absolutely say I always find it uncomfortable, personally, trying to enjoy a good piece of writing nestled among game systems. Switching modes is too hard. Ugh, I can't explain it, and maybe that's fine. It may just become a Droqen tenet.


Games can have systems that withhold content. What are the benefits of this? At first glance it seems purely negative to me. Why prevent an appreciator from being capable of fully understanding the work?

There are certain benefits but even upon deeper inspection they all seem hostile or condescending to me.

1. To create a variety of player experiences by force

We can already read books, watch movies, and come up with different interpretations, have different internal experiences. I don't know how valuable this is, really. But it's more inexpensive.

2. To reward dedicated effort to explore and understand

Again, we already have this; a work can have secret hidden meanings, games just do it without subtlety. It's not a hidden meaning for you to tease out with your mind, it's a hidden fact for you to tease out with gameplay.


I have some kind of beef with linear content in games, but that's not quite right either. What is it? I don't like deep art in games, because I prefer to admire deep games?


I don't like the questions that Disco Elysium lets me ask, or the disappointing answers I often get. So many choices result in "nothing happens" or "I don't know, obviously" or "that was the wrong choice."