Chapter 5

Permanence

“When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backwards, the jam will not come together again.”

—Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

Decisions are only interesting if they have consequences. Of course, most consequences evaporate when the magic circle of the game itself collapses. But within, what can we do to make the stakes of decisions meaningful?

Saving

The Legend of Zelda is considered by many to be the predecessor to the modern role-playing video game. Zelda was developed at the same time as Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. and the two were designed to be quite different. Whereas Mario was designed to be linear, ...

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