Building a campaign can be a lot of fun but, as I've realised, sometimes you can become so obsessed with the beautiful scene dressing of story, characters, and world building that you forget the little matter of what the players are meant to do and how you're hoping they play the game. There's nothing worse than dreaming up a game of political subtlety in a fantasy game and your players create a fleet of abrasive crossbowman ... except when you realise that you've woven your game in such a way that the players get punished when they're subtle or try to rely on social skills.
So what I'm going to do on Thursday is analyse various videogames (and occasionally published adventures or campaigns) to explore how elements of those particular games are woven to create certain experiences. I'll point out what mechanics, tropes, and abilities allow you to play a game of Thief or Assassin's Creed or Pandora Directive by examining which ones those videogames (and sometimes published adventures) do it.
Why not just focus on the published adventures?
Well, I'm glad you asked. Videogames give you a better idea of the experience of gameplay than reading several sheets of paper so you can more easily take a look at analysed games by viewing gameplay trailers, Let's Plays, or purchasing the game yourself and giving it a whirl. If I merely broke down published adventures, you'd have to run them yourselves to experience how they work and, even then, you wouldn't have the players' experience.
Besides, there are a lot more videogames than even roleplaying systems and they often have their little nuances and hidden mechanics that allow for that crafted experience that can vary quite a bit from game to game. Sure, different roleplaying systems also can bring in highly unique mechanics but it's simpler for my not all that rules-loving brain to grasp concepts I can see and use rather than ones written down.
Anyway, I'll list out the various articles I will do down here and link to them as I do them:
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The Walking Dead
The Last Express
Silent Hill Series
Alone In The Dark: The New Nightmare
Dragon Age 2
Half Life Series
Silent Hill: Downpour
In Cold Blood
Left 4 Dead
The Last of Us
Project Zero Series
Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Beyond: Two Souls
The Cat Lady
Gears of War
Tomb Raider (2013)
This War of Mine
Vampire: the Masquerade (Bloodlines)