LitRPG and the Lessons of Zelda

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I was reading an article at Wired this evening (With Breath of the Wild, Zelda Finally Loses Its Way. And I Love It), and a certain paragraph reminded me of the current state of the LitRPG genre. This isn’t a mind-blowing observation or anything that will change overnight in LitRPG, but it’s something that will happen in the future.

Here’s the paragraph:

Prior 3D Zelda games, beginning with the Nintendo 64’s Ocarina of Time, were heavily choreographed experiences. The hand of the designer, instructing the player on how to manage every element of the game, was abidingly visible, usually in the form of vocal companions offering advice and direction over Link’s shoulder.

In the early days of 3D gaming, this made sense: a digital, three-dimensional space was overwhelming in and of itself, and there wasn’t yet an agreed language to communicate meaning elegantly to the audience, forcing the use of heavyhanded narrative propellants.

I think the same is true of current generation LitRPG books. Eventually, agreed upon conventions will arise and the game-mechanics hand-holding won’t be as pronounced as it is today in some novels. What do you think? Share your thoughts over at LitRPG Forum.

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