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Leaving story unresolved.

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I was thinking of some classic movies and what went int to giving them effective stories and I started to think of "The Birds" the classic Hitchcock thriller. The more I thought about it the more I released that what made it so good was that there was no explaination for the events that occured and no resoltuion to them then simply stopped. For those who haven''t seen the movie. At the start of the movie birds start attacking people and at the end of the movie the attacks simply stop. There is no explaintion given for why they began or why they stopped. The whole thing is left unresolved. So I thought to myself would the same technique work well in a game? The player finds themselves in the middle of a situation no explaination given and by the end of the game they have manged to solve their immediate problem but they still have no knowledge of what caused the original situation or why they where involved. for example: The character wakes up their legs hand cuffed to a pipe and a nasty burn on their back from where hit by a stun gun. ... The game ends with the player escaping on a train back to civilization and safty. With no more knowledge about who kidnapped them or why. ----------------------------------------------------- Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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I think I disliked the Birds for exactly the same reason you seem to like it. Though, not to suggest that any explanation for it would have made the movie any better. I suppose what would work here is some sort of really loose explanation. Something thats really open to interpretation. For example, if there was even the slightest hint that the birds only attacked certain people, it could be infered that Hitchcock has introduced them as the instruments of a vengeful god attacking the sinners, hitchcock condemning the certain activities and viciously assaulting them. Come to think of it, that may have made the movie better by today''s standards.

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That would defenitly not improve the movie, adding a moral reason for which the people need to be punsished for is not what the movie was about, and an explaination would have only weakened the plot. Besides the birds is a classic and considering todays standards a remake would never be as good as the original.

-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Besides the birds is a classic and considering todays standards a remake would never be as good as the original.



Night of the Living Dead. Psycho. Both were classics, both were remade, both were as good as the original, if not better thanks to color. Though, the lack of color did make the movie more interesting. Not something you see a lot now in the twenty-first century, so it''s a good change.

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
That would defenitly not improve the movie, adding a moral reason for which the people need to be punsished for is not what the movie was about, and an explaination would have only weakened the plot. Besides the birds is a classic and considering todays standards a remake would never be as good as the original.


Well, I was just saying I didn''t like the Birds, because, it wasn''t about birds, but some chick that finds a guy she likes and decides to aggressively pursue him. The birds that come along are just treated like some natural distaster, like a volcano or a tornado.

No, retroactively changing the story of the Birds is not a good idea. I''m suggesting that if you want to make a story where internally nothing gets explained, it may serve to leave external hooks, such as having the natural disaster only hurting certain people, but not others.

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the one thing i like and sometimes dont like in stories is when the ending makes you question if any of the whole story was real, like in Vanilla Sky. I think thats probably a better idea than just having a non resolution.

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Not having and ending to a game story, I think can definately be a bad idea. Resolution is something that I personaly feel I need in order to move on, but that''s more of a psychological issue for myself I guess. As far as a game story going unresolved, I just see the player gettting severly frustrated. I''ll use as an example Rygar for the nintendo entertainment system. Here, you have a very intense game for it''s time. ( I am reminded of this game particularly for this very reason.) I actually had forgotten all about this game until last summer, when a friend of mine pulled out his old nintendo, and low and behold there Rygar was.

Ok, so we spend like 6 hours playing this game, getting pretty far into it, and then , we finally beat it, and .........

Rygar goes through some stupid portal and there''s a butterfly, and that''s it, roll credits. What the hell?

Considering the time frame for the game I don''t think it was really that uncommon for games to end like that, and perhaps that can be considered as a resolution, but it just frustrated the hell out of us.

I think with the standards of todays story lines in games, if you did go the path of leaving the story unresolved, that your just asking for a flopp, unless of course your leaving a portal open to another story to be told.

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Thats not really what I''m talking thats more of anticlimatic ending or a non ending. What I''m taking would have a full story arc however that story arc would seem only like a subset of some larger story.

Lets use an example.

(Game opens)
Player finds themselves tied up in a wharehouse, they mumble some confused phrases about remembering being attacked while leaving a bar and unsure as to what is going on.

Two men dressed in green jackets are standing in front of the player arguing, both carry guns and seem very upset and one of them keeps pointing in the player''s direction.



Both men draw their guns as the argument esclates and one shots the other. However a stray built hits one of the oil drums in the wharehouse and soon flames are spreading quickly. The surviving man runs out the wharehouse in fear.



Now free the player is in trouble the flames have spread and there have been several small explosion the entire wharehouse is engulfed in flames and begins to collapse around them.



Having escaped the wharehouse the player finds themselves at the docks of what looks like the city they call home. As they continue to run from the wharehouse the player notices several more armed men in green jackets.



The player having slipped by the group of men breathes a sigh of relif and nearly walks into a lone green jacket peeing in a corning.



Having knocked the man unconcious the player manages to grab the mans gun, but the commotion has attracted attention of the rest of the green jackets. So quickly the player makes a dash for freedom, one of them fires a bullet that grazes the players shoulder and they fall into the harbour. Seeing an open flow pipe the player crawls into it and into the sewars. The sound of a series of large splashes behind them warn the player that the green jackets have not given up yet.



At last the player finds an exit that brings them out into a subway terminal and then dashing upto the platform they hop into a subway train just as its pulling out of the terminal and to freedom.



Thats the kind of thing I''m thinking of in terms of an unresolved story. They player has achomplished a goal feels satisfaction however they still left wondering why they where kidnapped in the first place and if their escape is truely the end it.

-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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I feel the danger in that is an unresolved story could be the sole reason an otherwise good game bombs. You have to do it in a good way or else it will clearly seem pointless. Personally, i don''t think it''s worth taking that risk.

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My only question is to why is the story left unresolved? What is the point in doing this? If it''s purley for experimental purposes and you have the resources and the time, by all means move forward. I just don''t see it being well recieved and it would make for a short game, if the scenario you present here , were how the story unfolded?

What is the motive for leaving the story unresolved? In movies such as the Birds, perhaps it was a hidden artistic message, ment as a metaphoric statement, or a litteral reflection of how things never really end, how every ending is really just a beginning. Is this what you''d be trying to convey the game story idea as well? I could see it working if for the right reasons and your idea is communicated well through the story itself.

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Just to make a point off the last comment: Hitchcock DID originally have an ending to The Birds, but decided to leave it ambiguous on purpose. The story was intended to be more about the human interaction, with the attacking birds acting as a catalyst.

I do agree, however, that simply leaving a story unresolved for no discernable reason would only piss gamers off. I can see why you might want to experiment with it, but from a practical standpoint the natural assumption people would make is that you simply didn''t know HOW to wrap up the storyline.

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I found the escalating attack of the birds and the panic of the characters to be very entertaining to watch and wasn''t very upset about the story. In fact, I think it added to the mystery of The Birds. It reminded me of some of my best "nightmares".

In order to make it work you will need to build the "story" a bit differently than you would build a game with a clear ending. Somehow you need to make the final explanation unnecessary for your game. It seems difficult, but in a way, it can also be a good thing for your game as you cannot rely too much on the most usual way of telling a story.

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quote:

I feel the danger in that is an unresolved story could be the sole reason an otherwise good game bombs. You have to do it in a good way or else it will clearly seem pointless. Personally, i don''t think it''s worth taking that risk.



Consider the number of succesful games with no story or little of any story, I don''t see why a diffrent story approach wouldn''t work.

quote:

My only question is to why is the story left unresolved? What is the point in doing this? If it''s purley for experimental purposes and you have the resources and the time, by all means move forward. I just don''t see it being well recieved and it would make for a short game, if the scenario you present here , were how the story unfolded?



By leaving the story unresolved it makes the story solely about the events that unfold in the game. It shifts the focus from player centered universe to a play in the universe. The example I gave would be for a short a game but that doesn''t mean at an unresolved story can''t work for any other game. For instance rather then an rpg being about a lone hero going off to defeat the insane king threating to destroy the world. The rpg could instead be about the events of one characters life during that time.

People seem to think leaving the story unresolved would make for a bad game. Put let me ask you this, When playing a game that takes place in WWII do you get pissed off that you don''t defeat the nazi and win the war?

Rather then having a story focousing on some world changing plot, an unresolved story focouses on characters and interaction since they are not directly involed in the events changing the world.


-----------------------------------------------------
"Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own."
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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quote:
People seem to think leaving the story unresolved would make for a bad game. Put let me ask you this, When playing a game that takes place in WWII do you get pissed off that you don''t defeat the nazi and win the war?


Poor example; people playing a WWII game are already familiar with the basics of the overall story. But I get your meaning. I don''t agree necessarily that people are saying it would make a bad game; in my case I''m voicing a concern that you risk alienating the player.

In an rpg, a large number of gamers (I won''t pigeon-hole myself by saying "most") expect a story. Whether the story makes a whole of sense is a different issue. The player may be thrust into the middle of an ongoing plot, but part of the reason they play is to discover the WHY of their character''s situation. You''re taking that away from them - which may not be a bad thing, if done so that the player still feels a sense of satisfaction.

I can already see the gamer at the end of your game example, seeing their character sitting on a bus on the way home while the credits roll, saying "What the F*K! that''s it?! Where''s the wrap-up? Why the hell did I just go through all that?!"

One of my favorite arcade style games was "Loaded"; I was addicted to it, to the point where my friends were concerned for my mental health (giggling and cackling while playing a game based on escaping from an insane asylum - not a good idea.) The premise? You''re in an insane asylum. You want to escape. You''re a badass. Everyone else is trying to stop you, including the other crazy inmates. Carnage ensues.

I could have cared less WHY I was there, or why the other patients were trying to stop me, or who built the facility. It was a shooter, pure action. I didn''t need a story, just a setting. Now: translate the same game concept to an RPG, and my rationale changes. Why am I there? Why are these people trying to keep me in there? Where am I, anyway? Who runs this place? How do I get out?

Same game. Different design. Different mentality.

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