Why It Matters: Storytelling

A good story can go a long way.

Games are more than just a bunch of parts cobbled together to make a whole--they are entire experiences that touch different parts of our psyche using the various tools developers have at their disposal. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are very different experiences, yet both succeed at what they attempt to do because the pieces and parts come together to make a cohesive whole that effectively communicates a single vision.

Part of my job as a critic is to tell you whether or not something is good and why. But a review can only go so far; I could spend page after page analyzing and dissecting various aspects of different games and comparing them to other games that attempt to create similar things with greater (or lesser) success. It's something I wish we saw more of: clear-headed thoughts on what makes one game better than another and how the pieces of those games add up to a successful (or unsuccessful) work of art and entertainment. Have you ever seen a line like this in a review? "I couldn't quite put my finger on it." Or, "I can't quite explain it." I think that's a cop-out; it's our job to put a finger on it. The more we apply creative and analytical thinking to games, the more we can and should expect from them.

If we insist that games be considered art, then we need to treat them as such. A painting can be pretty, but that doesn't make it great. In the same way, a game can be fun, but that isn't enough to make it special. Game criticism can, and should, stake out its place in analytical journalism. But that won't happen if critics are content to only skim the surface. Please note: Spoilers follow. Proceed with caution.

I've mentioned this before, but I want to reiterate an important point regarding narrative: "Story" is more than just "plot." You can reduce a story to "What happens between point A and point Z," but anyone that's read a book, watched a movie, or played a game can tell you that storytelling is far more complex. Story involves characterization, dialogue, theme, and more. Effective storytelling also involves the use of language. Wooden dialogue can make characters ring hollow; metaphors can be effective, but bad ones seem cheesy or didactic. In writing, word choice makes a difference. Alliteration and other tools can make a sentence flow. A description of a beautiful sunset is enhanced by lilting, flowing sentences, whereas an action scene needs punchy words and onomatopoeia ("Boom!").

Film, theater, and games benefit from the addition of audio and visual storytelling--a glance between lovers; the call of a crow; the flame of a candle in a dark room. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Thus, cinematography becomes part of the story, as does the design of the world in which it takes place. Camera angles and movement, scene props, color palette--they communicate to us, both overtly and covertly. In romantic films, furtive looks and subtle facial expressions communicate more to us than words could in those moments. Close angles in a suffocated room can make an angry exchange even more intense. Take games like Limbo or Machinarium. No character utters a single word of dialogue, but the games absolutely tell stories using visuals and sound. But that isn't just because both games effectively use elements other than speech to communicate events, theme, and tone: It's also because when you play a game, a narrative develops as you interact with it.

This game's ending shows how gameplay doesn't just benefit from storytelling--it is storytelling.

In other words, gameplay is also part of the narrative, and story and characters can develop without a single line of dialogue. In Ico, an incredible and touching bond develops between the characters of Ico and Yorda, which has a lot to do with gameplay mechanics. Yorda needs your help, as Ico, to lift her to higher places and protect her from attackers. Holding her hand and calling out to her are both gameplay mechanics, yet they have everything to do with how well the game communicates a developing bond between two characters who speak different languages. This is an extreme example; almost every game communicates to us like this in one way or another. Crisis Core's ending communicates the futility of Zack's actions. In Grand Theft Auto games, the lines you overhear bring the city to life and become part of your personal narrative. Just shooting a bunch of aliens is part of that narrative because they constitute an event in that timeline. Gameplay is story, too--the kind only a game can tell.

Whenever I discuss a story in a review--whether in a positive or negative manner--I often have people ask why it matters. Someone asked me recently, for example, why Bulletstorm's story matters. After all, isn't it enough that the game is fun? Super Mario Galaxy tells almost no story at all, but it does just fine, right? The difference is, of course, that the game itself determines how important its story is to it. Not every game needs a big story to be awesome, but when a game spends a lot of time telling one, it's asking you to pay attention to it. Many games are primarily about story. Most point-and-click adventure games are essentially interactive stories in which the player must solve puzzles to progress to the next event. Heavy Rain is all storytelling; its gameplay serves to enhance your connection with the story. I wouldn't call Heavy Rain fun, but it was still one of my top 10 games of 2010. (Just as I wouldn't call many of my favorite films "fun.") Other games are content to frame the gameplay lightly, allowing it to speak for itself and letting the player-developed narrative take center stage.

Bulletstorm and Killzone 3 are both good examples of how a game is affected when a story doesn't work. Both are great games, but both spend a lot of time trying to weave a tale that doesn't work. I think Bulletstorm's language could have been funny if delivered effectively. Pulp Fiction is a great film with a lot of raunchy dialogue, but that dialogue is an important part of a violent, surreal, and darkly funny story in which each aspect works to form a whole. Bulletstorm, on the other hand, is divided. It has raunchy language spoken by meat-headed characters (not necessarily a bad thing, mind you); a straightforward sci-fi plot with a few twists you probably see coming; and a beautiful lost paradise with a backstory you gradually uncover as you play.

Those things are fine on their own, but together, they lack cohesion; contrast that with other shooters in which individual aspects are designed to fit together. Serious Sam, for example, is absolutely surreal, and everything about it is designed to be that way. Of course, Serious Sam is not a story-heavy shooter in a traditional sense, but it knows what it is, and every aspect of it is designed around a vision. I would say the same thing about Duke Nukem. BioShock is a very special game precisely because everything is built to elicit claustrophobic apprehension. Half-Life 2 is my favorite shooter of all time in part because you always feel like you're on the run from an enemy you don't quite understand in a fully realized environment that's familiar enough to keep you grounded but strange enough to be frightening. Shooting can be fun. Shooting is better when you care about why you need a gun in the first place.

Again, not every game needs strong storytelling to be awesome. Killzone 2's story was just sort of there; the details that made that game special existed outside of the story and were outstanding enough to veil the weak tale. With Killzone 3, Guerrilla took a bizarre route: It made the story aggressively bad, gave us much more of it than before, and made it intrude much more often.

We can look to Killzone 3 as an example of a game in which the experience suffers because of the story. Consider, then, Mass Effect 2, a game that succeeds precisely because of story. Remember: Story is more than plot. Mass Effect 2's plot is no standout, but that plot is a solid skeleton from which to hang its fantastic characters, places, and dialogue. The visual storytelling is top-notch. I spent hours being weirded out by how waxy Miranda looked, and later, her story arc caused me to make sense of her design. Quick camera cuts make Mordin's jittery demeanor seem even more hyperactive. You practically know what Aria is like the minute you walk into Afterlife, what with its pulsing music, rich purples, and flaming hallway.

Without Rapture, would BioShock have been as shocking?

Imagine, Mass Effect 2 as a pure shooter, without dialogue, great characters, and a vibrant world. Consider how different it may have been--and most likely, how much worse. Now, Mass Effect 2's action is fine. What elevates it is context, which comes back to what I said earlier: Shooting is better when you care about why you need a gun in the first place. That isn't to say every game needs to be like Mass Effect 2 or that shooters need to tell involved tales. But it does prove that games can be more than mindless entertainment. Heck, I like summer blockbusters like the rest of you, but that kind of experience is very much of the moment. I would rather spend my time and money on games that stay with me after I shut them off. Aren't the best games the ones that you think about even when you aren't playing them? That isn't always because of the story, but story can be one of those elements that push the game over the edge from good to amazing.

Think of all your beloved game characters and imagine how their games would be if they were replaced by a no-name grunt. Or think of your favorite gameworlds and imagine the game taking place somewhere else. Or think of your favorite stories and imagine the games they took place in without them. What would Metal Gear Solid be like without Snake? What would Half-Life 2 be without City 17? What would BioShock be without its setting, audio logs, and philosophical underpinnings? These games stay with us long after we're done with them. If the gameplay didn't have the context it did, we probably wouldn't care as much as we do about these games, many years after we played them.

Written By

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

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314 comments
ColJendon
ColJendon

Quite right, quite right. It's always refreshing to take a step back and appreciate quality aspects of games we love. Excellent piece.

gmboy902
gmboy902

Far Cry 2. Darksiders. Two games, among many, that just don't have good stories to complement their good gameplay. And for that reason I rarely touch them. If a game doesn't have a good storyline I kind of don't bother much with it, unless it has really good features to back that up. Starcraft II. KOTOR. And yes, believe it or not, Call of Duty does do a good job at storytelling (especially, at least, MW2). Games like this with good or great stories and plot development draw me in. Heck, even older games like Warcraft 3 are great plays because of their storylines.

Albaficas
Albaficas

"NanosuitLover & diabloakaSAHA" cry more,rage more your both probably 360 fanboys,seriously rating the mgs franchise as a B movie....go play hello kitty or something.just to remind you something Lionsgate,New line cinema,warner bros just to name a few are trying to get the rights of the franchise and ask kojima to be the producer of it.Now why kojima say always no thats another matter,but im glad he did i dont want this franchises to be f@cked up like RES and dragon ball...now this is what b movies looks like.Admit it or not,Like it or not the Mgs franchise is the best if not the best certainly on top 3 for the past 3 gens.MGS-Mass effect story > all DEAL with,just because you wont accept it doesnt means it is that way,Now go back and play some no brainer fps and stop bashing cults franchise's because you guyz are either new gamers or simply dont have a single F@@cking clue about video games storytelling

Albaficas
Albaficas

Storytelling Metal gear franchise comes first without a doubt..glad gamespot feels that way.

Albaficas
Albaficas

"LordDeArnise - Great gameplay + great story = Instant classic in my books. This is why games like the latest Call of Duty games, Gears of War" I stoped reading there.

LordDeArnise
LordDeArnise

Great gameplay + great story = Instant classic in my books. This is why games like the latest Call of Duty games, Gears of War, Mass Effect, & Assassin's Creed are some of my best games of today's era. But my love for some of the top RPG's didn't start with Mass Effect, it started with another Bioware franchise that had just that same great mix of gameplay & story ... Baldur's Gate. Baldur's Gate & Icewind Dale ... aahh, the old days of the Bioware Infinity Engine D&D RPG's. KOTOR & Jade Empire are also 2 of the finest RPG's that I've had the pleasure of playing, as well.

conkerton
conkerton

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mellow09
mellow09

@Conkerton "try actually compeleting it for once and you understand." - This is the worst insult anyone has ever given me. You didn't even spell completing correctly. Onward to the topic. People do not spend four years in high school to "learn about the world correctly." Sure you learn about the world, but in simple, basic manner. The nature of what they teach often leaves you with the wrong impression of something, or at the least, the wrong impression of why something is so. At the end of the day high school doesn't teach you nearly enough to understand the world, or the worlds cultures, thus you do not have a correct understanding of it. Now, I mentioned this only because I didn't say "understand the world," and I find it odd that you would respond in such. No, I noted that high school is intended to teach you how to understand what good writing is. ...

mellow09
mellow09

... This is why you read classics, usually, teachers make you write papers about nuances and styles, and the reason why one might do that and why teachers attempt to raise the reading level (god, I'd love to hear what you think reading level means). You know, to develop an understanding of something. Okay, next. "There are parts of a story that are needed for quality." Um, yes? This is a backwards statement, and I'm having a hard time getting at what you mean. Your essentially saying that quality is attainable as if it had a complete physical, or phantasmal form. This is completely wrong. The only thing needed for a story to be a story, is movement. Take for example: For sale, babies shoes, never worn. That's a story. It has no middle, beginning or end and all the movement occurs in the reader. How is it judged as quality? By the techniques that are used and the effectiveness in which these techniques work. One's reading skill, and knowledge of techniques allow us to determine said quality. You wouldn't be one who could judge it though, it takes skill and training, which is why people have jobs where the determine quality, awards are given, classes are taught, writers are made and lost based on these very understandable and determinable skills. That you would suggest otherwise is not only disrespectful to these people but also ignorant.

mellow09
mellow09

Alright, this is long. The subjectivity of art is the interpretive meaning, this has nothing to do with quality. Hell, as I said before, there are original meanings with which we can judge something. Those are the meanings that are intended to be understood by the writer. This, and the skill at which it is conveyed, is one thing that is judged when we determine quality, not subjective meaning. There are 200 post speculating about the quality of stories, this is true. What is not true is the validity of their statements. They are not experts, they do not know a thing about these things. It's pure blind speculation, in all it's ignorance.

mellow09
mellow09

Next, "[...]may share some storytelling elements but our individual judgement on those qualities will change both overall story quality and interpretation." No. Just no. As I mentioned before. Only meaning changes from person to person. But the original meaning can be used to judged, its skill. This is what is done. I'm sure you don't know, because frankly you don't have the sound of someone who's ever read a quality review or analysis of writing. Or the sound of someone who even knows what writing techniques even exist. Furthermore, our interpretations don't change the story, at all. It doesn't change technique. Our interpretations change the meaning, end. I do find it funny that you called me ignorant though. You don't even know that you don't know what your talking about.

conkerton
conkerton

@mellow09 We do spend 4 years in high school to learn about the world correct. Try actually compeleting it for once and you would understand. There are parts of the story that are needed for quality. However, when we as a society judge these qualities it is then a subjective art form. This is why there is a whole article above about quality of storytelling and 200 posts about which [story] is better. Yes interpretation does change person to person, but the key elements to storytelling are subjective to person. Odyssey to Mass Effect 2 to those terrible Indie films all may share some storytelling elements but our individual judgement on those qualities will change both overall story quality and interpretation. I don't ask you agree with me just keep ignorance to yourself.

roddy72
roddy72

Awesome article Kevin! Please do more!!

chrisvader774
chrisvader774

How very true...a long time ago, I tried to explain to my mom why I played D&D until the wee hours of the morning...she didn't understand (and probably to this day, still doesn't) what the appeal was. To the uninitiated observer, D&D just looks like a bunch of people sitting around with dice, books, a pencil, and paper...and a #$%^ ton of Mt. Dew. What I told her was, "When you read a book, if it's property written, you keep turning the pages because it's interesting. It's the same with D&D, except that YOU help shape the book with your actions." With video games...I don't know, it's hit or miss, depending what you want out of it as to whether or not plot is important. If you're playing a sports game, plot is meaningless. If you've bought a game for the sole purpose of competing with other people online, then the plot in the single player campaign is only important in the sense that it makes the "tutorial" more or less bearable as you learn the skills you'll be needing to compete online. If your gaming experience is more as a single player, then plot is definitely key in whether or not the game captures and keeps your interest as you play.

turok0
turok0

I remember a game in the mid 80's where you controlled a little fat plumber whose story was some ridiculous afterthought about saving a princess who was kidnapped by a giant turtle. According to this article, that game should be terrible. And yet that game managed to be a groundbreaking success cause it had plenty of challenging, meticulously designed levels and amazingly tight controls. This teaches a lesson that gameplay alone is everything that a game needs to be great. Games are not supposed to rely too much on story. Like a guy here already said, if you just want to watch a story, go to the books, cinema or theaters. Gaming is just not for you.

5nake3yes
5nake3yes

The older I get the more I agree with everything in this article (I have been gaming for 30 years now). What I am finding is that while there are games out there that I think "Cool" they fail to hold my attention for very long, shooters are the typical type here, I've been there, done that, got the T-Shirt on the shooter front. Even MMO's are heading that way for me now, hence the reason I am looking forward to the Old Republic so much, Biowares ability to tell awesome stories, plus Starwars, Plus MMO "should" lead to a very very good game. That said there are games out there with superb story lines but rubbish gameplay, finding the fine balance is very difficult but when you do the games can be utterly compelling. At the end of the day there needs to be something for everyone, and even if people have favourite game types occassionally they need something that requires no thought to dip into. Excellent article I thought.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

@smookert010 who says "indeed it depends on the game Like battlefield 3, who gives a sh%t about story as long as it has a good multiplayer Or like prototype were you just kill stuff..." I gotta disagree with you, while the multiplayer of Battlefield itself doesn't need a story, I really want the campaign to have a strong story. And I am hoping that it will be about some ordinary troops as I am sick of the CoD/MoH/BC/GRAW/RB6 about secret black ops/spec ops teams. From what I seen of BF3 so far it looks amazing.

myrontaslov
myrontaslov

I think that the biggest issue with story and video games is pacing. If the story is more of a draw than gameplay (Alan Wake), I don't want to wade through almost a hour's worth of similar gun fights to pick up the next fragment of the story. Likewise, I can sit patiently through purely cinematic cutscenes, but I feel trapped if I can control my character but have literally nothing to do but stand there and listen to dialog.

bletwin
bletwin

@deterrentolive2 "This article is completely wrong. Gaming is meant to be an interactive medium. If you want to stay passive just watching a story, go read a book, or to the cinema, or to the theater. Heavy storytelling always cripple gameplay, the two things are simply incompatible. Too bad most of the gaming industry nowadays actually think as described in this article. That's why modern games are becoming less and less fun. I miss the good old days..." Hilarious how one of the most insightful comments gets thumbed down like crazy. Attention Gamespot: hiding comments because they were thumbed down is a STUPID mechanic.

bletwin
bletwin

"In the same way, a game can be fun, but that isn't enough to make it special." "I wouldn't call Heavy Rain fun, but it was still one of my top 10 games of 2010. (Just as I wouldn't call many of my favorite films "fun.")" Ideally, nobody should ever take a review from you seriously ever again after reading this, but that is an ideal. If you aren't playing games for fun, then what could you POSSIBLY be playing them for? For educational purposes? LOL. "Game criticism can, and should, stake out its place in analytical journalism. But that won't happen if critics are content to only skim the surface." To say you "skimmed the surface" with this writing would be affording you too much credit. You also drew some really poor, shallow conclusions, such as this one: "Shooting is better when you care about why you need a gun in the first place. That isn't to say every game needs to be like Mass Effect 2 or that shooters need to tell involved tales. But it does prove that games can be more than mindless entertainment." Good video games require far more brainpower than any film or painting to engage with yet you conclude that Mass Effect 2's storyline is the proof that games can be more than mindless. You'd think that a complex and difficult game would illustrate that claim the best, but I guess that's asking too much from a man that gave Assassin's Creed 2 a 9.0 (a game saturated with mindless combat and boring mechanics). Looking forward to your next article.

diabloakaSAHA
diabloakaSAHA

Agreed with @NanosuitLover , i like Metal Gear Solid , but saying that it has a good story just isnt right. The story in mgs4 is equivalent that one of a B grade film. Btw.. since when did story matter in bullletstorm?? :/

theshonen8899
theshonen8899

"Shooting is better when you care about why you need a gun in the first place." Awesome.

NanosuitLover
NanosuitLover

Hahahahha MGS4=good storytelling? Stopped reading after that was stated. It was an overrated story of an "illuminati-esque" sons of liberty, except told in such a convuluted way through circumlocutive dialogue and terrible writing, Kojima needed to slap his story editor in the face. It was a simple and decent underlying story, but it was too hard to grasp because of a murky and awkward execution. Pandering MGS fanboys much? Its like your article on AI, where you didn't mention STALKER and Far Cry 2 was said to have "advanced" AI. Credibiltity fail...

Agent3sephiroth
Agent3sephiroth

I agree, a story should try to actually communicate something to the player, instead of just giving a sequence of ficticious events from point A to point Z.

mtbrdude87
mtbrdude87

Forgot to mention The Longest Journey, or Grim Fandango... perhaps the Monkey Island series? This article missed and entire GENRE (adventure) of games that are chock full of storytelling.

rpg-god
rpg-god

I agree thats why a lot of the RPG's fall short because the story isnt captivating, the game play may be good, but wat has happened to the story. I believe that the diminishing story is caused by the developers rushing to finish a game just to make a few bucks, so they dont care if the game loses quality.

sehven
sehven

Story can be important to games, but I'm not sure that anybody has figured out exactly how to do it. Deterrent makes a good point about how games shouldn't be passive and often story in games means stopping the action and showing a cutscene. I enjoy cutscenes when they're done well, but there's got to be a way to do it without making the player passive. Some devs tried to solve this with qte's which is a horrible idea (a prompt for me to press a specific button isn't interactivity). The author makes some good points: often the story of the game is told by the environment and by the actions you perform as a player, so perhaps there's potential to expand that. My wishlist for a story based game: I should be moved by the story and should care about what happens to the characters (FFVII did a really good job of this). I should always feel like I'm in control. That would mean no cutscenes, no indestructible characters/contrivances that prevent me from shooting a plot-centric character (Deus Ex 2's leave your weapons outside when entering a facility rule that keeps you from shooting important people). I should feel like my actions actually have an impact on how the story unfolds. (Heavy Rain did pretty well, but never gave me that "in control" feeling). The problem is that a game has to be programmed for every possibility and once you let gamers take control, there are a LOT of possibilities, and sometimes it can be difficult to show the player what's going on without a cutscene.

kljvoph
kljvoph

I agree with your sentiments even if you are stating the obvious. Story telling is at the heart of virtually all art forms, bar music perhaps. For me at least, a great story or narrative makes the difference between a decent and a great game. If all we had was game mechanics and various difficulty levels I doubt I would be playing games at all. A great story engages the player and sets the mood. Having said that I would recommend reading the odd book between playing games ;-)

turok0
turok0

don't understand all the fuss about Half-Life 2's greatness. IMHO, hl2 was a mediocre shooter, with mediocre gunplay and an excess of scripted events always interrupting the gameplay. The fact that it had a good story doesn't save it from being a mediocre game.

deterrentolive2
deterrentolive2

This article is completely wrong. Gaming is meant to be an interactive medium. If you want to stay passive just watching a story, go read a book, or to the cinema, or to the theater. Heavy storytelling always cripple gameplay, the two things are simply incompatible. Too bad most of the gaming industry nowadays actually think as described in this article. That's why modern games are becoming less and less fun. I miss the good old days...

Skakruk
Skakruk

too bad that this article touches only modern games forgetting the past great games that has no less story than aformentioned. like legacy of kain excluding Blood Omen 2, for example.

Sam998998
Sam998998

How does this article tell us anything we don't already know? It seems to just point out the obvious.

braxton_g
braxton_g

I always get disappointed when the story on some of these games are weak. I much rather have a good storyline associated with it. Connects you to the game considerably more...

MoeDiggity
MoeDiggity

Some of the games referenced tell some of the greatest stories ever told. If you turned Metal Gear's story into a series of movies, you would have blockbuster after blockbuster. Great article. Love the "Why it Matters" series on this website because it lends a ton of legitimacy to this artistic medium. My girlfriend is a big reader, I play video games. As a reader, she tends to look down on video games as a mindless waste of time (she's not coordinated enough for video games haha), but if she were, she might have the opportunity to experience truly great stories in ways that no book or movie could ever tell them. Think about games like Halo or Call of Duty. Traditionally, not heavy on the story. However, what the author says about how sometimes the game play does tell the story rings true in these titles. Was Halo:Reach the greatest story ever told? Certainly not. But add in the drama of being pinned down in a firefight behind a crate while enemies intent on killing you attempt to flank and all of a sudden you get drama that no book or movie could ever touch. That's what we, as the players, remember. Great article.

_TheJoker_
_TheJoker_

Excellent article, the best I have read in a long time.

brookyskuki
brookyskuki

Love a good story, although I enjoy non-linear games at the same time. I think GTA IV hits the nail on the head in that category.

Thomas-Crown
Thomas-Crown

"... but story can be one of those elements that push the game over the edge from good to amazing. ", well said. Excellent article.

turtlethetaffer
turtlethetaffer

I like games that merge storytelling with gamepla, and the best example of that, IMO is Majora's Mask. A good story isn't necessary for a good game, but it's nice to have it when possible.

VercettiTommyy
VercettiTommyy

now this is one reviewer who knows what he's talking about. too bad there aren't many like him. great stuff, sir kevin!

Threesixtyci
Threesixtyci

Umm... Rule of Rose has a very deep story and the worst game play I've ever experienced. And I don't see people bragging about how awesome that game was....

LoadedTuna
LoadedTuna

"Half-Life 2 is my favorite shooter of all time in part because you always feel like you're on the run from an enemy you don't quite understand in a fully realized environment that's familiar enough to keep you grounded but strange enough to be frightening." amen.

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

@Kevin-V You simply took the words right out of my mouth. Ya know, add story in games is like add salt in your unsalted food. What do you think about the next Resistence? Looks like it will involve a great story.

LoveableJoe
LoveableJoe

This is an extremely well thought-out article and a very enjoyable read! Obviously, as you said there are a great number of different requirements for a game depending on what market it is trying to infiltrate and in what way it is designed to be enjoyed. It is the same for film, theatre and literature; there is a great difference between Toy Story and Silence of the Lambs as they are aiming themselves at two very different markets. But I agree completely that for those games which focus on storytelling, they cannot aim for second class narratives - whether through dialogue or through game experience. It is also notable that the genre of game which so often succeeds in bringing across beautiful, original and immersive stories is that of Role-Playing Games. An example of this is Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion which is an all-time favourite game of mine. It is a game that carries with it an epic main story and incredible opportunities for mini quests which should be commended on their own for their sheer enjoyment level, as well as brilliantly told plots that compliment them. Games are so much an art form of their own and should be respected as such. They bring across the visual spectacles of art, the engrossing action of film, and the awesome story telling found in literature. Fantastic read!

Petch1984
Petch1984

Stories in games often feel shoe-horned in to link the "world tour" of levels. Until we reach the peak of graphical and technical capabilities we will see that more often than not these factors overall any story telling. Gaming moves too fast for it's own good - at least in films the advancements come at a steady pace so aside from the odd gimmick-laden film the majority look for creatively in the story. Books can only focus on story so it's impossible for them to be constricted by any sort of technical advancements - Games have to look new and fresh on the surface to sell at all so thats the focus.

edgecult
edgecult

Hmmm.. a truly wonderful read really.. I feel most games need to play with the story telling and I really hate the idea that a game can slip by a uncohesive mess of a story for having a slightly above average multiplayer. If you want a single play part of the game then at least try and make it worth taking the few hours to play it and even the multiplayer should at least try and make the few who seem to pay attention to reasons fighting here. CoD didn't try as every level was well a level but I remember from at least the comp Battlefields 2 and 2142 that each map had it's own little story and reason for why your fighting. Why is it so hard to type a four second purpose for the level? It made me understand the two nameless sides I was in 2142 and why they were shipping 100s of people billions of dollars of high tech weaponry to die for some patch of land. Its little gripes but something nice to have for those who care.