Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Does chess have a story?

At render, a discussion of the role of stories/context in videogame design led to this point:
You can, I suppose, consider games (videogames and otherwise) as having two different elements: the story (or context), and the gameplay. Take checkers, for instance. No story, pure game. Chess doesn't have a story, but it does take place in the subtle context of abstracted medieval conflict. Chess's complex game design, which requires a great deal more thought and strategy, is probably more compelling than checkers from a gameplay standpoint. But I'd also argue that chess's various characters - the powerful queen, the capable knight, etc. - make the game more interesting.
I definitely agree that chess is more compelling than checkers and that this is probably somewhat attributable to the fact that there are different types of pieces with different characteristics. However, Go has only one type of piece and many consider it even more compelling than chess. As to "the subtle context of abstracted medieval conflict", the effect must be very subtle and subliminal indeed. I can't ever recall thinking about its medieval context while playing a game of chess.

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