I’m playing Dreamfall right now, and found this very interesting interview with the creator, as well as a great discussion in the comments section on how much interactivity a game should support.

Ragnar Tørnquist On Dreamfall

Apparently many people find Dreamfall to be an engaging story and not a very good game.  It’s true that it has a wonky camera and an unsatisfying combat mechanism, but the main complaint is that it’s so linear— there are few alternative paths and the puzzles are usually rather easy.

Why am I in a wintry landscape in my underwear?

Why am I in a wintry landscape in my underwear?

I don’t agree, though I see the point.  On the whole I think there’s just enough interactivity, and I think this sort of game is a valid alternative to more open-ended games like Fallout 3 (to say nothing of plotless ones like TF2).  It’s the same sort of thing as Grim Fandango or Sam & Max (old or new incarnations), which are great games.  Sometimes it’s a little too artificial (e.g. at one point you can only advance the story by picking up your backpack), but all games have uninspired moments. I love open-ended games, but in some games you’re playing a character (Sam or Manny or Zoë), not playing yourself.

The page also has some discussion on writing and playing male and female characters, interesting but not very deep.  I like to play female characters myself, and have my own theories about male and female brains and those in between, but I don’t think any of it should be taken too seriously.  When you invite people to talk about “men” and “women”, that focusses people on certain things and subtly distorts the discussion… people (including me) trot out their notions and prejudices about the prototypical male or female, which may not have much to tell us about any specific person, real or imagined.