I guess my weekly endeavour here has touched on concepts that people have been investigating for a while.
In some web surfing I found this monologue on the topic of game themes and mechanisms. It's more focused on the world of board games and collectable card games, and I guess that this is because the author doesn't want to open up the roleplaying can of worms...hell, he even states that most games would be better off without following a narrative (I'm paraphrasing here, but that's what I get from certain remarks he makes).
Have a look for yourself.
Theme vs Mechanics
I might get around to writing up something of my own on one of these days.
[Edit: No, actually, I've misrepresented the author. I had also been reading a second article on game concepts where the author seems to believe that narrative doesn't have a part to play in gaming.]