Ludic Metaphors


“This game is a biting commentary on our vapid consumerism; our desire to acquire possessions at all cost. It’s about how we can only become whole people through the ownership of things. Things we don’t need or even want. We just roll over them, adding to our stature and self-worth.”

Ron Gilbert blogging on Katamari Damacy

One of the concepts I had been exploring lately has been the one I’ve decided to baptize as Ludic Metaphors. And probably the clearest way to explain this is taking Sid Meier’s definition of a game:


“A series of meaningful choices to reach a goal”

Well.. that very same definition could be applied to life itself. Properly designed games bring us Meaningful Play (Eric Zimmerman dixit); yet a game able of speaking us with the subtleties of metaphors expressed through interactivity, can transcend its ‘Magical Circle’ and touch our soul and mind, like any true art form.


Like many, I’ve been playing Shadow of the Colossus lately. And there’s a very interesting detail in this game that I really liked: Each time you access to the save menu -and hence, transcend the Colossus universe into our reality-, your character kneels and starts praying. He’s literally communicating with you, a superior being that controls his destiny, his god. He gives prayers to you so you can make him accomplish his destiny safely. That’s a nice Ludic Metaphor.


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