"Videogames generally suck when it comes to storytelling. Their stories are often ineffective, clumsy, or just plain unnecessary. And so many cutscenes!!! We're disengaged, and it breaks our immersion. WE want to play the game, not have it told to us. Enter Dark Souls: the plot may seem threadbare, but when you dig in, whole new backstories and depth begin to emerge as you interact with the things you find. Is this the future of storytelling? Or should games even be TRYING to tell stories?"

This episode of Game/Show is pretty interesting as it brings up a point that was made in a recent Cheerful Ghost Roundtable, typically games contain pretty bad stories. Jamin talks about Dark Souls and how it goes about telling the story. Dark Souls lets you know the game narrative throughout the gameplay as you experience the game and collect items. Seems similar to how Portal 2 unfolds, as you play the game and solve puzzles the story is fed to you bit by bit.

What game have you played that had a memorable story and how did they tell it?

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 03/14/2014 at 09:16pm

It seems that there are two things being discussed here: Games with poor story material (Far Cry 3, per the video), and games that tell their stories poorly (a majority of games). I do love it when games introduce story elements through discovery, but I don't think that Dark Souls is the first to do this (Ico, Portal, Bioshock?). Dark Souls uses diagetic elements to tell it's stories, but there is a balance of the mimetic, as well (cut-scenes, npc dialogue, allowing player notes, etc). Bioshock did this to a great degree, though it was heavier in the dialogue department. Both of these games, and others, lend themselves well to the silent protagonist, which, as we might remember, has also been a topic of critical debate. The point, I think, is to make the game you want to make. Asking whether games should even be trying to tell stories, seems ridiculous. Some people make games that have stories. If your game has a story, you should certainly try to tell it, in whichever way suits the play of the game. There are many ways to tell a story. I don't think that video games should have one specific way.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/15/2014 at 04:40pm

I agree, there can be many ways to how a video game tells a story. One recent example of a really unique game was Little Inferno. I don't want to spoil it, but it had one of the best narratives and total switcheroos in recent memory. In fact I rank the few hour experience I had with the game up there with one of the best movie or book experiences of all time.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 03/15/2014 at 08:45pm

I really like Little Inferno. It has that same kind of Portal depth to it, where you have this fairly simple, somewhat comfortable, beginning that leads you into a deeper, unsettling mystery. They are both very linear games, but the timing used to give you, or allow you to find, certain pieces of information, grant the illusion of independent discovery.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 03/15/2014 at 09:01pm

Another story that I really like is Beyond Good & Evil. Most of it's story progression is told through cut-scenes (If I remember correctly. It's been a while), but there were areas that you could walk around and listen to conversations, or radio broadcasts, or observe objects that would give you a greater sense of the whole story. Plus, the musical score went a long way toward doing that, too.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/16/2014 at 10:24pm

I've heard really great things about Beyond Good & Evil but I have only played the Beyond Good & Evil HD demo when it was re-released on the PS3. The game was fun but I never picked up the full version.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 03/17/2014 at 04:17am

It's good. Really good. I'll totally let you borrow it anytime you like, if you have the ability to play Gamecube games.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/17/2014 at 05:09pm

I can play Gamecube games on my Wii. That said, I have a few console games I want to play before it. Like Read Dead Redemption. I've heard great things about that one.

scrypt   Supporter wrote on 03/17/2014 at 06:28pm

I've only made it as far as the path opening up to Mexico in RDR, which, I hear, is where it really gets good. It's a beautiful game, and a lot of fun to play. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 03/18/2014 at 03:12am

Awesome. I have heard so many great things about the game I doubt I will be. My only gripe is that it isn't available on PC, it would be much more convenient to play it that way.

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