Ludo-narrative dissonance is an odd phrase, isn’t it?

It’s a term invented solely to describe phenomenon in video games that can’t happen in other media. This is when a game’s mechanics or scope runs contrary to everything its story is trying to tell.

You might think that this isn’t a big deal. If the story is good enough, it should survive the odd contradiction here or there, right? But a big part of video games is the immersion, even more so than books or films. People can forgive the occasional glitch, but something intentionally put in or allowed that contradicts the game’s entire thesis? That’s a lot harder to let go.

This can happen in a variety of large or small ways. It could be a level or scenario that contradicts what an earlier section was trying to say about the plot, theme, or characters. Or it could be something the game allows the player to get away with that the story would otherwise look down upon. It could be something as tiny as the set dressing or the clothes the characters are wearing.

Of all the ways games can contradict their own messages, these ten entries are the most egregious examples.


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