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TheOddMan

RANT: If I wanted a story I'd buy a book...

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Recently there's been a lot of stuff on sites like Gamasutra talking about how we need to put better stories into games. Forgive me, but that's the last thing I want from a game. Let me demonstrate: I'm playing Trauma Center for the DS. Amazing game. I love the way you learn how to do operations and can use all your tools to solve all the puzzle-like surgeries. It's also a little educational. What I hate about this game is that in order to get to the next level you have to sit through mediocre comic-book style dialogues whilst frustratingly pressing every button you can think of to skip these things. Just let me play the damn game! What's the storyline to Geometry Wars? Does anyone care? Your a ship, things are flying towards you, shoot them or die. Make score get bigger. Simple, fun, excellent gameplay. Here's what I say: Screw the story, give me a good GAME.

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I guess it's on personal taste. I, for one, couldn't care less about the storyline in any of the games I play. When i downloaded Bioshock demo, I tried skipping all the story scenes and getting to the meaty gameplay. Exactly as the thread title says, if I wanted a story, I'd go buy a book. For some reason, most people prefer stories to go along with their games. Maybe this is why I like twitch-based fps games like cs 1.6. Whoop the opponents, end of story :D

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Quote:
Original post by TheOddMan
Recently there's been a lot of stuff on sites like Gamasutra talking about how we need to put better stories into games. Forgive me, but that's the last thing I want from a game.
Not all games need stories and that isn't what they're trying to say; rather, if you are going to include a story it should be a good one. If your game doesn't need a story then don't try to shoe-horn one in.

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When I want a game that's just centered on gameplay, I buy one.
When I want a game that's centered on a story, I buy one.
And if I want a story, I want a good one. Just like I want good gameplay when I want it.

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I agree that not all games need stories. However, as I've gotten older I've found myself increasingly drawn to titles that have some substance. To me, Bioshock had a great story that I really enjoyed and greatly enhanced the game experience.

Without the story though, what makes Bioshock any different than Halo?

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I dont see any problem with a game having a decent story, as long as it doesnt comprise gameplay. If you are going to include "cutscenes" make them shorter than the gameplay entertaining and skippable.

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Yes, god forbid there exist different types of games.

As well, your post contains useful logic that also fuels pretty much any statement you could dream up (Screw gameplay. I want some sweet graphics! Screw fun, I want to learn something! And so forth.). And to further make a point, while it's true that gamedev sites have recently been talking about this does not alter the fact that gamedev sites have been talking about this for years. But you put [RANT] in the title, so I guess it's cool.

Quote:
Without the story though, what makes Bioshock any different than Halo?
I agree with your intended point, but I can think of plenty of answers to this question!

I think the only answer that can be offered here, regarding game design, is that if your game doesn't need a story, please don't cram one in just because! (The dumb little story in Katamari Damacy made it more fun, because it actually added something to the game.) In this bit, I'm just restating what Kaz said.

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Story has its place. It provides important context to what the player is doing - if I'm carrying out a set of complex objectives, I damned well want to know why. That being said, you don't need much plot to get your point across, and it doesn't have to be communicated via voice-acted cutscenes. The briefs in Goldeneye are sufficient for that. On the flip side, a game like Ratchet & Clank wouldn't have been quite as much fun without its truly hilarious plot.

Really, the problem with plot is not so much that it's there, but that companies try to do more than they're really capable of. If you're going to do a lot of writing, you'd better have good writers! And if that writing is going to be communicated by cutscenes and voice actors, then it needs to be written like a screenplay - with faster pacing and rough interactions sketched out. Finally, not every interaction between characters needs to be shown in full detail. You don't need to show a conversation about where to set up camp, for example; a simple "We decided to camp here for the night" is entirely sufficient.

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If I undersand you correctly, it sounds like Trauma Center just needed an easier way to skip cut-scenes.

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