The Stupid as Ludonarrative Dissonance

  • Aaron KernerEmail author
  • Julian Hoxter


“Ludonarrative dissonance” derives from Clint Hocking’s review of the videogame Bioshock, and refers to instances where gameplay seemingly runs counter to the narrative. The procedural (e.g., mechanics, or gameplay) versus narrative debate has waned within the ludic discipline, however, in the larger gaming community these underlying tensions surfaced in the most toxic rhetoric. Gone Home met tremendous hostility (in the “Gamergate” controversy), because conventional gameplay is elided in favor of narrative. The narrative focuses on a young queer woman, and this vividly contrasts with the supposed “default” videogame demographic. And for these reasons Gone Home might be read as stupid. Casual games (typically phone-based games), relatively unplayable without micro-transactions, are implicitly placed in a contingent relationship with triple-A console games, also, might be viewed as stupid.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of CinemaSan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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