Over at the blog What Games Are there is a posted called “Why Orcs Must Die?” which talks about signifiers. In the blog post he defines signifiers as “symbolic images which convey a wealth of emotional association by virtue of their presence” and then goes on to explain:

“The culture that we live in has literally millions of choices at our fingertips, most of them bad, and so the use of a signifier acts as a helping hand. Your choice might be good or bad, but at least you know what kind of thing it is you’re buying into before you buy it. If you know it’s a game about orcs then you know it’s probably humorous in particular way and that helps you decide if it’s for you. You have a relationship with that signifier.”

What basically boils down to there are public domain brands of our shared culture which you can use in your games which people will instantly identify with. Use them to your advantage. You can make your own games using Pulado and use one of these characters or have the theme be about them. I’ve included a list of fantasy monsters below which you could use in your games:

Banshee
Brownie
Centaur
Cockatrice
Cyclops
Dragon
Dwarf
Elf
Fairy
Faun
Giant
Gnome
Goblin
Griffin
Harpy
Hippogriff
Kobold
Mermaid
Nixie
Orc
Pixie
Salamander
Satyr
Sylph
Titan
Troll
Undine
Unicorn
Warlock
Werewolf
Winged Horse
Witch
Wizard
Zombie

What signifiers can you think of?

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