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Shinkage

Nothing wrong with a good story.

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Dunno if I''d be counted as championing against, but I''d have to say this: When I sit down and play, I want freedom, and I want my actions to make a difference. I really hate it when I play a game a ton of different ways, but the storyline grabs me by the back of the neck and shoves me along a path whether I like it or not (I don''t need that, heck I can get plenty of that in the real world )

I have no problem with stories in games per se. In fact, they flesh out and enrich the environment, and give me good motivation for what I''m doing. I''m fine with them, as long as I''m not held to them. But there''s an obvious problem with this, and that is, if I break from your story, what are you going to give me to do? There are some pretty severe technology problems that prevent this kind of freedom (the n(n^2) branching problem) as well as story structure problems (it''s hard to make a tale end well a bazillion different ways).

So as support and background material, stories in games are great. In my case, though, please don''t let them get in the way of gameplay. (Obviously, I''m not an adventure gamer or Squaresoft fan)

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Just waiting for the mothership...

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I agree with Wavinator.

BTW Wavinator : how about a game divided in chapters with each chpater having between 2 to 4 endings ?
Will that make you happy ?
Chapters endings and action will make some change in the NPC you met...

But you cannot alter the storyline much.

Is it ok for you and do you understand what I mean ?

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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A really well done Linear game (like the one above) gives you immense freedom of action, but very little ability to change the plot or character. But the game announces this to you, it draws very clear lines between you and the game, because immersiveness was not a goal of the creators. Ironically, the game was a lot more immersive than some others that try to be.

When it comes down to it, as different types of games arise in the next decade, we will refine them to two titles. Linear and Divergent Narrative. (interactive is a buzzword, so I don''t want this to be dated...)

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quote:
Original post by Wavinator

When I sit down and play, I want freedom, and I want my actions to make a difference.


Why? What is inherently more fun about this than being pulled through an engaging narriative?

quote:
Original post by Landfish

When it comes down to it, as different types of games arise in the next decade, we will refine them to two titles. Linear and Divergent Narrative.


Correct me if I'm wrong but wouldn't the term "Narrative" imply that this sort of game is story driven as well? It seems to me the debate here is as to what kind of story drives the game, not whether the game has a story at all.

Edited by - Shinkage on September 13, 2000 1:28:31 PM

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quote:
Original post by Shinkage


Why? What is inherently more fun about this than being pulled through an engaging narriative?




Right now, my favorite author is Dan Simmons, who wrote the excellent and sometimes heartwrenching Hyperion series. Orson Scott Card and Salaman Rushdie are also favorites. These professional authors give me, in a book, more intellectual and emotional content than I have ever seen in any game.

It''s not that a computer can''t deliver up the same content. But right now a book is in so many ways superior. It''s portable, easy on the eyes, and feels good to hold. In short, if I wanted an engaging narrative, I''d read a book.

When I''m on the computer, it almost *insults* me to be told to sit still, shut up, and make no impact. *I* am the "protagonist!" I want to have a say in my experience. When I play, I want to do something. Doing, or action (aka gameplay) is the heart and soul of play. Now the computer, because it has a processor which can handle decision making, calculation, and input, is a tool well given to interactive play.

It would seem to me that if a person does not want to use these features, they should be in a different medium altogether. The strengths of the medium should support what they''re trying to do. For instance, I wouldn''t try to impose a system of inventory management on a movie. Nor would I try to make a movie a "multiplayer" experience. The medium''s strengths do not lie there, and I believe in using a medium''s strength''s to the hilt.

This isn''t to say that there shouldn''t be hybrids. In fact, stories in games are already a form of hybridization. You play a bit of game, you watch a bit of story. This doesn''t suit me all that well, but other people love it.



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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quote:
Original post by Ingenu

I agree with Wavinator.

BTW Wavinator : how about a game divided in chapters with each chpater having between 2 to 4 endings ?
Will that make you happy ?
Chapters endings and action will make some change in the NPC you met...

But you cannot alter the storyline much.

Is it ok for you and do you understand what I mean ?




I think I follow you, and this is certainly better than strict linearity in a game. What really impacts this, of course, is replayability. If we want to fully blend these two mediums (gameplay and narrative) we need to figure out how to make stories replayable.

This is no easy task. A story is *excellent* because the author was insightful enough to structure things just so. If it would have happened any other way, it wouldn''t have made the same impact. (e.g., Othello kills Iago; MacBeth''s murder plot is uncovered in advance; Vader turns out to be Han Solo''s, or Lando Calrissian''s father... these probably make the stories into "so what" experiences)



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Just waiting for the mothership...

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Wavy, I hear you loud and clear. That was the only problem I had in the single player game of Vampire: no matter what I picked to say, the same thing happend, but I might gain/loose humanity. That sucks. But I think there is a way to have both a good story and "divergent narrative". In fact, I know there is a way.

Idea: what about skipping certain parts of the game (mutually exclusive events, eh Landfish?) depending on what you say/do? Would that make things better? Storied _can_ change and still be good.

Ex: would it have made that much of difference if Luke ended up helping Darth Vader kill the Emporer? Vader would have still been bought to the light, but the story would have ended by different means. Remember, changes don''t have to be so extreame that the entire plot must change with them.

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"What's the story with your face, son?!?"

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Wavinator, you speak much of "should" and hypotheticals, but my question is, WHAT would be more inherently fun about completely non-linear games. I''ll sum up what I think about the matter:

It''s naive to say that non-linear games are in any way intrinsically superior to linear ones. It depends WHOLELY and ENTIRELY on the production qualities of any particular product. What I see here is a lot of misdirected anger, or perhaps more accurately frustration, at the current state of computer games in general. What''s wrong with games is not so much that they are linear and "not taking advantage" of the "strengths" of the computerized medium. That''s all just so many words. What''s wrong with them is that their central aspect--the story--is generally severely underdeveloped and trite, if not downright cliched.

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