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Ludonarrative, a compound of ludology and narrative, refers to the intersection in a video game of ludic elements — or gameplay — and narrative elements. It is commonly used in the term Ludonarrative dissonance.
Ludonarrative dissonance refers to conflicts between a video game's narrative and its gameplay. The term was coined by Clint Hocking, a former creative director at LucasArts (then at Ubisoft), on his blog in October, 2007. Hocking coined the term in response to the game Bioshock, which according to him promotes the theme of self-interest through its gameplay while promoting the opposing theme of selflessness through its narrative, creating a violation of aesthetic distance that often pulls the player out of the game. Video game theorist Tom Bissell, in his book Extra Lives (2010), notes the example of Call of Duty 4, where a player can all but kill their digital partner during gameplay without upsetting the built in narrative of the game.
- "Nathan Drake in: The Curse of Ludonarrative Dissonance!", Experience Points, 10 July 2009
- Sawrey, Matt (26 Apr 2010), "Ludonarrative Dissonance: we still need to learn from Hocking", Thunderbolt