The methodology the author uses is a narrative analysis. Payne uses various terms and scholars as evidence to further support his thesis and emphasize his points. The key terms mentioned are gameplay, game studies, the notion of play, the magic circle, paidia, ludus, the frameworks “ludology” and “narratology”, countergaming, procedurality, remediation, military-entertainment complex, critical play, ludonarrative dissonance, and machinima.
Spec Ops is used because it is a game that gives players a set of choices on how to perform tasks but restricts them by giving specific missions or narratives that guide their journey. This game does not follow the average story line where the player has an “empathetic bond” with the hero and builds their skills every time a level is passed. Spec Ops makes it transparent to the gamers that “enjoying any sense of control in war… is a dangerous illusion.”
I believe the reasoning provided is indeed credible and mostly sufficient. Various approaches to how video games should be analyzed are given. However, some terms should be elaborated furthermore to have a clearer sense of some points made. This article is meant for game study scholars, gamers, and war themed game analysts.