Louis C.K. (via 30thcenturyboy)
Slavery in the territory that is now the United States lasted more than 330 years. We will be 330 years removed from slavery in the year 2195.(via fishingboatproceeds)
Sometimes the urge developers seem to feel to produce “video games as art” seems to work to their detriment; So keen are they on trying to create a beautiful story that they forget they’re creating a game.
I think this is pure, weapons-grade Balognium. While it’s true that you should judge a video game based on the entire game rather than just one aspect, the story of a game is a lot more like the LYRICS of a song, rather than the album cover. Graphics are the album cover; Generally just for looks, and pretty or ugly doesn’t necessarily affect your enjoyment of the material. Lyrics, like the story in a game, tell you what the song is about. What you’ve done, where you’re going. Gameplay is far most like the instruments used to make a song; These instruments could be tuned perfectly but their combination could just be unsuccessful in making the listener feel anything.
Likewise, the beat to a song could be good but the lyrics utter crap; In the same way a video game could have a bad story but fun gameplay. The reverse is also true.
The best game should have both gameplay and story that you enjoy, and what you think is “best” should only ever be considered the best for you personally. Video games are a much wider, more intense, more free medium than books, movies, or sports. By contrast to what you said, James, there are developers who are so interested in trying to make a game about some form of competition or gameplay gimmick that they neglect everything else.
I don’t see how anyone could NOT realize that games are a balance of components, and focusing too much on any one part is likely to leave people unsatisfied.
First of all, thank you for the thoughtful reply. I actually think you made some great points, especially about the lyrics/story comparison. My general point, though, wasn’t that developers shouldn’t strive for good stories when their games involve stories at all, and I understand that games, as a medium, are very different from other mediums, because it’s a mix of a lot of different things. Gaming involves visual and musical art, etc.
My general point is that, even when we take all of these things into account, the key differentiating thing between games and other mediums is, well, gameplay/interactivity. I like when developers do everything well, and use interactivity to do something with a story that wouldn’t be possible in any other medium. Bioshock is a good example of what I mean: the story is really well written, and being able to put the player in the shoes of Jack and then using the big plot twist to remove autonomy can only really be done on such level in gaming. The gameplay was really great as well, as was the art, atmosphere, etc.
My general issue is when people judge a game purely on the merits of its story or presentation, while forgetting the gameplay. It’s a little sad when I play a game with a great story, and amazing voice acting, and great dialogue, but dread the actual game portion of it because…well, it just isn’t very good.
Well for the record, most of my post was directed at what James said. Specifically because I find that gameplay does not to be intrusive or complex in order to be enjoyable, and that often times a simple style of gameplay is all that’s needed for a game with a great story. By the same token, a game with a very simplistic or barebones story can sometimes be carried by a great style of play. Journey or Bastion are examples of extensive gameplay with light story that work very well.
Take the newest Kid Icarus game for the other way, though. The gameplay was fantastic, but the story was downright awful. The creator wrote it himself, as he went along, trying to make the gameplay justify the story rather than the other way around. The result is a game that’s fun to play, but I have to turn the sound off and mash through every scene because the story is so nonsensical and unenjoyable.
I understand what you’re saying, but I feel like the reverse of that is still true too. When a game is judged purely on active gameplay and things like story or system aren’t taken into account, it cheeses me off quite a bit. Basically, what I’m saying is problems like that go booooth ways. It goes both ways harder than a bi-furious, halfbreed siamese twin with two full sets of legs. I think players need to take into account all parts of a game.
Also, thank you for the follow. I hope you’re not driven off by my fusion of geekery and porniness.
Your points are fair, of course. Which is why I think that if a game is going to have an awful story, it’s better served not having one at all. To me, however, I just feel like the core is the most important. If you remove story from a game, but keep gameplay, it’s still a game and still enjoyable. If you remove gameplay and keep the story, you have…well, a very long film. Again, not to suggest that there isn’t room for both, I just tend to be bothered when developers do poor gameplay and only focus on cinematic camera angles or art design. Keep in mind, of course, that for me, simplistic gameplay and poor gameplay are not the same thing. Just like you, a game to me can be simple and still be fantastic.
Also: porn and geekery?! I’M SO THERE! :D
I don’t really agree, honestly. By which I mean, I can agree that there are times when gameplay is the core, but there are times when story is the core. Sometimes a game can have no story and still be enjoyable as gameplay alone, but that’s not always true. It’s VERY genre-specific, actually. And interactivity doesn’t necessarily equal gameplay. Visual novels, for example, are still considered video games because you can move them forward and backward at will, as well as sometimes stop to get pop-ups of extra information. They are interactive, however they are not considered to have gameplay.
And yeah, porn and geekery all day long. It’s pretty much hot dude’s butts and Final Fantasy all the live-long day.
I can’t think of any genre that needs a story to be good. I suppose the closest I can think of is JRPGs, because they’re very story heavy, but even then, I think it could serviceable at the very least. I think the “genre specific” part applies, but not fully, IMO. I think some genres benefit more from a story, but don’t really require it.
Also, I didn’t mean interactivity with the software itself, but with the world in which the game takes place in. There has to be exploration or at least a goal. That’s the kind of “interactivity” I’m talking about, although I think we’re in agreement here, despite the term used.