The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Gunstar Green Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:53 pm

Interactivity can make telling a story more difficult or make its impact more powerfully felt depending on how well it's done. It's just a different medium with different rules.

And it also depends on what type of game you're trying to make. You can read a book and you can watch a movie but there are lots of different ways you can play a game. Some are more conducive to storytelling than others.

He makes some good points in the argument of "games as art." However I don't believe the issue is that interactive media cannot tell a wonderful, artistic story but rather that most video games are trying to be like Hollywood blockbusters and not classic works.

Regardless of whether or not video games can one day become literary classics, the way that interactive media is able to tell a story can be used to great effect and shouldn't be ignored.

Despite the author's pessimism of "video games would've matured by now if they were going to" who really knows? People said the same thing about comic books which were around a lot longer than video games before graphic novels started gaining respect.

Each generation is growing up more and more ingrained in a society where video games are just another form of entertainment to take for granted. Who's to say what people will call literary art in the future?
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Dylan
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Dylan Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:57 pm

I would argue that games aren't bad at storytelling in general, they're just not that great at traditional storytelling (I think a lot of people are getting at this). The problem with storytelling in games is that very often it tries to mimic other forms of storytelling like literature and film without realizing the inefficiency of that structure for a medium like gaming. It reminds me of a lot of film from the early 1900's. When film had just come out, it noticeably mimicked the pre-existing form of storytelling that was theater in a lot of ways. Blocking was limited, scenes and camera angles were static. Fast forward over the years and film has changed in presentation so much it's unbelievable. We have dynamic camera use, bigger and more fantastic sets and scenes, and overall a formula that's more understood and optimized than what we had to work with when the medium was young.

Games aren't inherently limited in storytelling I don't think. What I do think is that the medium so far is struggling to figure out the inherent advantages and disadvantages that it has, and that someday the disciplines and tools used to tell stories in games will become more and more refined and effective.
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Jmustang1968
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Jmustang1968 Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:21 pm

I think it can be done well. Mass Effect is a good example for me as you play out an epic space opera. You always feel like it is flowing and a part of a bigger picture.

Another game that I enjoy the story and plot is Tactics Ogre. It is made especially so when decisions have consequences and really change the plot.
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by ZeroAX Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:36 pm

Jmustang1968 wrote:I think it can be done well. Mass Effect is a good example for me as you play out an epic space opera. You always feel like it is flowing and a part of a bigger picture.


I would say Mass Effect is a HORRIBLE example of video game storytelling. Huge text datalogs and cut scenes galore. There is very little world building by itself.

I would say Minecraft is very good at abstract story telling. It's a very personal game, so it's a very personal tale. You just can't share it with others.
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Retrogamer0001
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Retrogamer0001 Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:43 pm

General_Norris wrote:Haha. I love that picture.

I've said it before: The best narratives are those the player creates while playing. There's a better story to be had in The Republic of Rome or X-COM than in any Final Fantasy title. "Play, don't show".

Most of the time, when a game tries to tell a story what happens is a game spliced into a movie. Catherine is a good example. It's not a game about cheating. It's not a game about relationships but a game about pushing cubes and moving. There might be an emotional resemblance but it's hard to argue that pushing blocks have anything to do with cheating.


I actually like the stories in the Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, and Metal Gear series, as well as a few standalone games like Legend of Legaia and Chrono Trigger.
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Luke
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Luke Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:46 pm

KOTOR anyone?

It boils down to what you consider a great story. It's subjective.

That said you could easily objectively break down which games have a "great story" by traditional standards.

To add, San Andreas has one of my favorite video game story lines as of today.
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Ivo Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:09 pm

Good points by Dylan. I think games can be great at storytelling, but perhaps for that to happen, it needs to be done in very special ways. Tying the gameplay itself into the storytelling is one way of storytelling that *only* games can do.

Movie adaptations of certain books also suffer, and likewise for book adaptations of certain movies. "Cinematic" games often have issues, just as movies made out of games.

Dylan wrote:I would argue that games aren't bad at storytelling in general, they're just not that great at traditional storytelling (I think a lot of people are getting at this). The problem with storytelling in games is that very often it tries to mimic other forms of storytelling like literature and film without realizing the inefficiency of that structure for a medium like gaming. (...) It reminds me of a lot of film from the early 1900's. When film had just come out, it noticeably mimicked the pre-existing form of storytelling that was theater in a lot of ways. (...)
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by J T Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:35 pm

ZeroAX wrote:I would say Minecraft is very good at abstract story telling. It's a very personal game, so it's a very personal tale. You just can't share it with others.


I loved the Minecraft Experiment Diaries that one of the guys at PC Gamer did awhile back. His stories are very entertaining and demonstrate how Minecraft can deliver the type of experience you are describing.

http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/11/20/the-m ... aterfalls/
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Sasha_Blue Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:21 pm

Journey for the PS3 is amazing and tells a great story without any dialogue.

The Walking Dead is such an emotional game that at times really pulled at your heart strings. I can understand why it was Game of the Year from so many magazine, sites and such. Simply amazing.
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Re: Maybe games just aren't the medium for truly great stori

by Erik_Twice Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:35 am

Luke wrote:But you also have games such as Myst which both tell and make a story.

What does Myst have? A story? Narrative? It doesn't have much of a plot and it's very abstract so I'm not sure how to describe it.
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