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Gamasutra: Thematic Power

Themes in video games, when used well, help maintain the player's suspension of disbelief. Author James Portnow explains why some games have strong and effective theming and why others fall to pieces, with tips on how to theme a game for students and industry newcomers.

Themes, explain Portnow, should encompass everything in the game: every object, every game mechanic, every character. But certain components of most video games don't lend themselves as well as other to being theme. For example, most big-budget video games contain a heads-up display and mini-maps, which, due to their purposes, tend to have a very technology-centric appearance. It's a look that doesn't always fit the theme, as the author explains in this excerpt:

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