Against Stories

I have often thought that there is an overlooked dimension to the discussions about games and narrative. Many games encourage a particular style of thinking – a way of looking at situations as possibility spaces and applying systemic, algorithmic, and probabalistic cognitive techniques. And in some ways this type of gamer intelligence can be seen in opposition to storytelling as a way of understanding the world.

I usually keep this idea of games against stories to myself, because it seems unnecessarily confrontational. But in this TED talk, economist Tyler Cowen gives a wonderful critique of story thinking. As an added bonus, his advice to embrace the mess of our lives and the world reminded me of Ian Bogost’s recent Digra keynote. Maybe Tyler is a skeptical realist?